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'Barefoot Contessa' taking heat for repeatedly rejecting 'Make-A-Wish' cancer patient

Garten300 Someone might be in the market for a new PR team.

"Barefoot Contessa" Ina Garten has a new nickname -- "Heartless Contessa" -- in the wake of news that she repeatedly refused to meet with a 6-year-old boy named Enzo who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

According to the reports:

The boy, who would watch Garten from his sick bed, told the Make-A-Wish Foundation that he wanted to meet the Food Network celebrity. When told that her schedule was too busy, Enzo opted to wait. When the request was made once more, Garten's representatives replied with a "definite no," according to the online blog that the family kept about the boy's illness.

Cue the controversy.

"She is a pretty famous cook, but I doubt she is so busy that she can't cook one meal with this kid" read just one of the many comments posted on the story over on CafeMom, and The Stir launched a letter-writing campaign"Ina Garten -- Heartless Contessa" screamed one headline. "The Barefoot Contessa shatters a little boy's dreams," read another.

But perhaps the most biting comment came from Business Insider: "We're sure that she truly is pretty busy. But if she had time to throw a charity lunch for six Hamptonites -- who paid $100,000 to be there -- she can make time to whip up some meringues with a six-year-old."

(In Garten's defense, that was a charity luncheon.)

In response to the controversy, Make-A-Wish stressed to TMZ that Garten is a "good friend" of the foundation. A representative for Garten told the site: "Despite her demanding schedule, [Ina] participates and helps as many organizations as she can throughout the year, helping children and adults like Enzo with life threatening and compromising illnesses. ... Unfortunately, as much as she would like to, it's absolutely impossible for her to grant every request she receives."

We contacted Food Network in an attempt to reach Garten for her side of the story -- and we'll bet there is most certainly another side to this one. We'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, two other Food Network celebrity chefs -- Iron Chef Michael Symon and Beau MacMillan -- have reportedly offered to cook with Enzo.

What do you think about this cooking controversy? Is Garten being unfairly vilified? Are the media rushing to judgment? And do Garten and others have an obligation to do whatever they can to make room in their schedules for young fans like Enzo?

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Photo: Ina Garten. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

 
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I,m so angry! I have watched her show for years.I can't believe that she could be so heartless. I will never watch her show again, and I will never buy her products. Ina who?

Wow! I have been a huge fan and have even bought her products. Sounds like she is more interested in hanging out with the wealthy, elite neighbors in the Hamptons. She's is not interested in a sick boy. If that is who you really are, then "buh bye Ina, won't be watching you any time soon".

why this kid would ever want to meet you is beyond me, but you better start looking for another job!
i know i'll never watch again.

as you replied "no" to enzo, my reply is "no" to ever watching you again!

How are you doing today Lady Barefoot ? ? I can't help but wonder, who was incharge that made, or helped you make the descision not to meet with the 6 year old young man. That is what he is. You or your show are quiet a few levels below this Hero for what your organizaton did not fullfill for him. Ever had the carpet pulled out from under your feet. It doesn't matter who is responsible for this, it was wrong. From what we the people have picked up on, you guys blew it....

Get rid of her "PEOPLE" How Easy Is That!!!

Once I could understand, but twice No way! shame on her. I have lost alot of
respect for Ina. I did watch her show and have her cook books, which by
the way will be sold at the next garage sale we have (if anyone would even
buy them now.)

No wonder she doesn't have any children of her own. She obviously couldn't
make time for them. Bad Ina

Ina I was a fan. Things like this make you realize that people with money truly feel they are above those of us who cannot contend with enormous wealth. I am a 30 year Mexican male and to think you captivated me w a persona that is fake. You lost a fan from a demographic you probably didn't even knew you reached. To Enzo this is reality. I hope god blesses you and cures you. He is the only real idol.

Everyone one both sides of this mess are very upset. But let's provide his family with their wish and let this go. I'm sure that by now Miss Ina has been taught a lesson. Rather than keep running her in the ground til she sees Beijing, let's turn that energy around to benefit that sweet little fellow by praying for him and his family. They need our prayers more. Let's let Ina worry about Ina. Maybe if anyone feels so inclined, a donation to Make-a-Wish in Enzo's honor would make a wonderful statement to both parties in this issue.

The family is NOT bashing "The Contessa" - as a matter of fact, they are asking for people to stop the anger and move on. Here is the mother's own words:
http://www.angelsforenzo.com/pleasestopthemadness.htm

I can't explain my intial reaction to the story (since my child is a Make A Wish kid)but a 6 yr old fan who was willing to wait to meet her after her first "no" tells me he is a pretty big fan and was patient enough to wait then to get a second no. I could not even imagine the dissappointment I would feel if wouldve had to tell my child she couldn't go to disneyworld because Mickey doesn't have time to meet you. Sorry if it sounds like I am one sided on this story but she could've given him 5 mins of her time to call him or send him a video. There are so many ways to have brighten this one childs dark world of leukemia but like many posts state "its one sided at the moment" so I wait to hear the other side.
Sincerely --- a Make a Wish parent

Please Justin Beiber has lots of staff and is far busier than than some fat cook on cable yet he granted 35 wishes in 2 years...she's had 3 to grant 1 and couldn't be bothered. The Pope even granted a child's wish, does she think herself more important than the Holy Father of one of the largest religions in the world with tens of millions of followers? Many others go out of their way to grant wishes from Beyonce to Mel Gibson, all real stars.

Her "charity", and she "gushes" when she talks about it, is opening her home to the Historical Society in the Hamptons, my God what a humanitarian . Oh yeah, she also made lunch for 5 people at 100k a pop for a celeb friends charity...Enzo just doesn't have the cash or clout.

Maybe if he was "fabulous" like her friends she wouldn't have to "reconsider". She looks like a guy in drag. What a self absorbed, conceited, delusional yenta with visions of her own self importance. If I see her on the street I will call her a bitch to her face. She didn't even have the decency to send him a note or a signed cookbook, just "definitely no".

If Ina knew nothing about this two times then she should immediately dump who ever declined this sick boys request. She should make that well known that she did just that. She seems very nice and warm maybe she has idiot's representing her so I say get rid of them Now.I don't think she purposley did this I watch her all the time and she seems so sweet always smiling and generous..How Easy Is That!!!

Why does LAT still have this story up without any facts? And why are these incendiary comments from people who don't know how to read a TOS agreement still allowed through?

Want a counterbalance to this slanted story?

go here. good discussion too. no trolls or people lacking critical thinking skills

http://ifrymineinbutter.com/2011/03/26/this-is-why-we-cant-have-nice-things-the-people-vs-barefoot-contessa/

Does anyone here find it odd, that a 6 year old boy would want to meet Ina???? I mean Michael Simone yes, Bobby Flay, yes, Emeral or Guy Fieri, yes. But come on INA? Really, I am betting its more mom then son.

She is free to say no just as is the public to say NO to her books and TV shows.

Ina is not obligated to help this little boy or any other charity for that matter.. That is the beauty of this country, we are free. I am pretty sure Ina does do charity work. And guess what?? Ina gets to decide what she wants to support.. Who are we to tell her, what she should support.. I am sure that she gets 100's of requests a month and she can't do them all. Who is to say one charity is more important than another. It is right to decide where and for what charity she spends her time. People need to get off her back

As much as I don't like to buy into one-sided stories, this one stinks. After viewing today's show, it was the last straw, and now this!! A viewer skyped a request for herb conversion. She always uses fresh herbs. The viewer has dried herbs and asked her advice for a conversion. She REFUSED to give one claiming only fresh herbs should be used! Every professional cook knows the basic conversion. She doesn't understand the repercussions of the recession for everyday people that are at home during the weekday watching her show. Those are the people who actually made her popular. Watch what happens when they turn their backs on her heartless behavior. Enough is enough.

1. Has no other celebrity ever said no?

2. Until we see the letters that the family received, we have NO idea how 'abrupt' or 'cold' the reply was. Interesting that the letters have not surfaced. How do we know 'how it was handled' with just the mother's account of the story?

3.'She could spare 5 minutes' '10 minutes'....the boy's mother was asking Ina to go to where they live and cook for him, and make a show out of it. 5 minutes!?

4. For polite individuals, on 'no' is usually enough. To keep pressing, receive the same answer you got the first time (should be no surprise) and then incite this type of attack on the internet is lower than low.

5. Has Martha Stewart, Giada DiLaurentis, Valio Battali, ever had a sick child on their shows?

This is cyber bullying, and you're all on the level of this kid's mother.

I assume no one else has ever refused to grant a wish? At least that's the attitude you're all taking, on no evidence whatsoever. Hope none of you are ever on a jury anywhere near me...

I'm a fan of Ina's show, however, I'm not at all surprised at this. I notice on her show that she is a bit of a snob...a great cook - no doubt, but definitely has her nose in the air. Unfortunately, what goes around, comes around...karma is a b___.

SHAME on her for her refusals. She is responsible for the people she hires to work for her. It is HER JOB to hire people who will keep her informed properly. She may be a great cook, but you can see that she is a snob and a major f-g h-g she is on her TV show and does not have time for anybody else in her life. I wish Enzo all the best for a complete recovery and hope he finds a lot of help and support on his difficult journey. He is much more a MAJOR STAR for his fight than a phony Ina Garten.

I can't believe anyone would try to excuse the arrogant behavior of Ina or her staff in this situation. I guess the good news for Ina is that she will be a lot less busy now.

I am still on the fence about this one, but can you imagine if she said "yes"?

Her show would come on; she announces that 6-yr old Enzo, a Leukemia patient, wished to meet her and fulfill a long-time dream to cook with her ...and she does.

The image, financial part and other stuff would fall into place, either way she went. I could happen to any celebrity - I guess.

I was a huge fam of Ina Garten, purchasing her cookbooks and watching her shows on the Food Network. I was so disappointed to hear this news. I realize that many celebs are busy but do take time for special circumtances. And in this case, it classifies as a "special circumstance". I will no longer be a viewer of her show or purchase anymore of her cookbooks.

OKAY, TOO MUCH NEGATIVITY IS BEING SAID ABOUT INA! GRANTED, THE MEDIA HAS SAID SO MUCH! ALL REALLY SPECULATION? I HAVE BEEN READING MOST COMMENTS AND SHAME ON ALL OF YOU. I AM A GOOD HEARTED PERSON, AND I WILL NOT JUDGE INA ON WHAT THE MEDIA SAYS, AND GOD AWFUL COMMENTS BEING MADE. INA IS A HUMAN BEING FIRST. GOT THROUGH HER GREAT EDUCATION, AND WHITE HOUSE EXPERIENCE WORK!!! THEN SHE FOLLOWED HER PASSION FOR COOKING, THANK GOD! ALOT OF US ARE VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE HER ON THE FOOD NETWORK AND LEARN RECIPES AND ALSO HAVE FUN WITH HER FOOD FRIENDS, EDITORS, WRITERS AND THE LIKE.....AND I SPECIALLY LIKE THE LADY FROM "LOAF'S AND FISHES" OMG. DID I SPELL THAT CORRECT? WHAT THE HEY! YOU KNOW WHO I MEAN? INA HAS TAKEN US FROM FARM RAISED CHICKENS AND EGGS, TO THE GREATEST BUTCHER SHOPS AND IDEAS. TO THE MOST CASUAL ELEGANT MEALS AND SETTINGS EVER!!!! INA EVEN GRILLS ON HER WEBER!!! I SOMETIMES DON'T EVEN DO THAT. OKAY, ENOUGH SAID, BUT LIKE MY MOTHER SAY'S. WE ARE ALL LIVING OUR DAILY ROUTINE. BE IT HUMDRUM. OR FABULOUS!!!!! SO WHAT IF YOU DIDN'T GET NOTICE FROM STAFF OR WHOMEVER........ WHAT IF YOU DID AND REALLY COULD NOT SEE TIME FOR SOME TIME WITH HIM. YOU KNOW, I MISSED YOUR BOOK SIGNING IN DALLAS, TX NORTHPARK MALL. I HAD A LIVER TRANSPLANT AROUND THAT TIME. I DID RECEIVE A SIGNED BOOK, AS MY PARTNER WORKS FOR WILLIAMS-SONOMA. I READ THE WHOLE "HOW EASY IS THAT" COOKBOOK IN THE HOSPITAL.MENTALLY I MADE NOTES OF WHAT I WAS GOING TO COOK/PREPARE ONCE I GOT HOME. AND I HAVE!!! YOU KNOW, PEOPLE SHOULD SEE YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE GIVEN US IN RESPECT TO COOKING. CLASSICAL, WHIMSICAL, BASICS, AND ABOVE ALL. CASUAL CLASS. I LOVE THE ENTERTAINMENT, FOOD "THINGS" THAT I RELATE TO SO WELL, AND THE PERSONS THAT YOU HAVE ON YOUR SHOW AS GUESTS! AND LETS NOT FORGET ABOUT jeffery! did i spell that right. probably not.....we love him too........now you punctuation and grammer scholars, give me a break. i think i write great! so keep it to yourself with all respect......INA...keep up your fantastic food network show!! and above all. don't listen to media and bad comments. you know yourself. if all is well, all will be well. alway's believe that.....danny benitez.......

As a chef, I consider myself and other chefs as “artists” who use food as our medium. Artists have always shared a long tradition of doing “good” for your fellow person. As a Chef, I have a passion for food and when creating a dish for someone, the pleasure I get that they enjoyed it, is the most gratifying. What’s even more of a joy, is teaching someone who also has a passion for food, on how to be a better cook. Cooking is truly a community “art form”.

I was a fan of Ina Garten, the "Barefoot Contessa". However, after her recent snub of a dying boy's request, from Make-A-Wish foundation to cook with her, I can no longer support her or anyone else who is associated with her. She has shown her true stripes and proven the fact that unless you are some upper-crust country club snob, she'll have nothing to do with you. And even though she "graciously” offered to accept Enzo’s request (too little, too late) she will forever be a horrible person in my eyes.

As far as I am concerned she is not a true Chef. She’s shown herself to be a self-centered publishing hack and with TV smoke and mirrors, portrays herself to be some “wholesome, sweet” cook. As they say, it’s what you do when people are not watching when your true colors show.

I have always felt that Ina is a social snob,rubbing elbows only with High Class..I am sure she could have made the time or better yet actually have him as a guest on her cooking show but you know he doesn't have a high class social status...I no longer have any interest in watching her she needs to come down to earth!!!!!

If you only had a heart! It's sickening to think that because you are some "B" rate cooking show star that you are too good to meet with this sick little boy. Only after scrutiny and pressure did you finally decide to take time out of your "busy" schedule to make time for him. You should have been honored and flattered that a 6 year old boy thinks enough of you to make meeting you his one wish! What a loser you are!

I will tell you one thing for sure, this too busy to help a dying 6 yr old will not be seen on my TV again. No more books either. Im willing to bet the Hamptonians will not desert this cold and callus withch.

I can honestly say that I was never a fan of the barefoot contessa before. I have watched her show in between better shows or because I could not find the remote control. And I can say that I am not surprised by her actions, even the times that I have seen her show, she gives an unpleasent impression. She seems to really believe that those meals she cooks are the best in the world. Although some have seemed quite inviting, I could never see my self as a guest had her home for a meal. Her attitude seems very stand-offish. .... Maybe she was "too busy" to feel the request. Maybe "her schedule wouldn't allow it" .... maybe she will think about all the backlash from this and maybe...just maybe... she will remember 2 things. The first: remembering what it's like to be a kid and have a hero let you down... and the second: remember that without those faithful watchers... You would not be the Barefoot Contessa. May God bless her next move.

I don't think ANY celebrity should feel OBLIGATED, but I think most of them understand that they got where they are because of their public. I doubt very much that Ina turned this family away. More likely it is her staff member who keeps her schedule who decides where she will be and when. She, like most celebs, just gets pushed in the right direction at the right time.
Go easy, folks...intil you're walking in a celeb's shoes.

The ONLY reason she had a change of heart was purely financial in nature. Everyone got on her case about being SO cruel and selfish that it jepordized her money flow and she caved. I wish the kid would have told her to go jump!

I value life and children above all else. Too bad she does not feel the same way.

Hear! Hear! to James and Free Ina. You are absolutly correct, this is cyber bullying and intimidation by the family of this young child. Sara can ramble on all she wants but cannot deny the fact that their family feeling so entitled that they started a cyber bullying campaign. How many of those of you that are so outraged volunteered, gave to or simply prayed for a charity (of any kind) in the last five minutes, hour, day, month, year or ever. Ina Garten gives a huge amount of time, money and service, do you? I am a huge Barefoot Contessa fan, have been since the beginning and will continue to be and will encourage everyone I know to watch, buy support. Do Not bow to the pressure Ina. Do not let these vicious individuals push into performing with this family, it will only give amunition to others that would to the same to others.

Any parent of a 6 year old child, who is very sick and wanted to see their hero or favorite star, would do the same thing Enzo's mom did. I feel for Ina and Enza. THAT is a the sad hard truth.

I guess the kid wasn't as sophisticated and/or glamorous as the rest of the dozens of people this 2nd rate Martha Stewart knockoff invites over all the time on her show.

If anyone wants to say it was her team that rejected the request not Ina herself, then even worse because she's allowing others to control her reputation, and as such is just as guilty as a captain that allows his crew to run the ship ashore.

I was at the fancy food show in San Diego and I was thrilled when I found out Ina Garten was there...I loved her cookbooks and her television show. I was shocked by her indifference towards me, when I met her. I stood there telling her how great she was and she looked at me with disgust. I was crushed! How rude...where would she be without her loyal fans. What a snob!!! Shame on her. I have met several "celebrity" chefs since my encounter with Ina Garten, each of them was kind and gracious. Mario Bitali and Guy Fieri were kind enough to give me an autograph and take a picture with me. Shame on Ina Garten for being so self-important and too busy!

To sally - low blow, what gives you the right to say such hurtful words about other people? Get off the couch and do something, Ina certainly has. You also need to learn proper English punctuation. That goes for many of you.

Who are we to judge so quickly? Why do so many of you immediately say hateful, angry words after reading such a short story? Yes, we all would love to be able to help Enzo and make him well, I'm sure Ina does as well. I have been a fan of hers for many years and I'm sure watching the same showes as Enzo and his mother. Do we know all the details behind her response? No! Do you know why she couldn't make the appointment? No! Guessing on the responses in the articles I've read, she will probably make time now. God Bless Enzo and Ina.

I just wanted to say you should be so ashamed of yourself for denying a meeting with a sick/cancer stricken child. I'm so glad the media got wind of this..you should have been honored that the 6 year old boy chose you as his make a wish. He could have chose anyone in the world to meet with him, ANYONE!! but he chose you! I hope he doesn't have time for your stupid show or you now! and you claim you can't answer every request everyday?? How many cancer stricken children do you get requests from?? You have a cooking channel! I mean really? It's make a wish foundation! how can you turn them down? Hope you lose your show! sleep well!

She was "unaware" of the request for 3 years... approached 3 times??? Yeah right.... I believe she was busy... but not to offer an alternative... special note... special call... pick a date and time... Make a Wish pays for everything .. so all she had to do was be there... invite him to a taping...
She has time to shoot episodes with her creepy friends... but not for a seriously ill child??? Sorry... I WAS a fan.. but you know... everyone can cook... and make recipes... she is not that special... I have no time for someone that heartless... I'll buy someone else's cook books...
As for innocent until proven guilty... let's be real here... it happened .. it came to light... now she's back pedalling.. I hope the kid finds a better person to look up too

"sense of entitlement proved to be unrealistic"?..don't be an idiot..this was not a request for a signed 8x10, this was not interrupting Ina walking down the street to take a photo, this was not a random anonymous request by a lonely fan This was a special request made from an organization known worldwide to aid children who are very sick and may soon die to have something they might never have, a special gift to have for their own. Whatever reason the "no" was given..it would be either Ina is cruel and thoughtless or her staff is stupid and thoughtless...and neither thought it would erupt into a controversy seen in the cold light of day...people have said they would like to hear the other side of this..or say wait to condem her until we get both sides....this has been going on for a few days now...and there has been nothing said by Ina and little said on official statements...like another poster I will bare no anger or ill will..but will also have no further interest in her show, books, magazines, products or anything else she has a part in. Yes she gets to make her own decisions for what suits her best..but so do we...and we speak with out wallets and viewer/readership..

If Ina's too busy for one ill child, she's too Busy.

One of two things: She knew about it and thought nothing would come of saying no when she didn't want to do it (self-important). Or, she didn't know, and her staff has instructions to blow off anything that isn't Ina's idea. I just gave her 3 red thumbs down on TiVo because I'm no longer a fan and can't identify with that mindset. She's the boss over the staff and gives them instructions, however, I don't believe they didn't ask her about it. Are they fools? I guess Make-A-Wish does not fall into an elite camp up to Ina's, uh, standards.

This would have been so simple: Ina tapes a show about baking some gifts to take to Enzo, her biggest fan. Then she flies to spend an hour, perhaps with some unfrosted cupcakes that she and Enzo can frost and eat together. It would have been charming and beautiful, for him, for us and for Ina's PR.

1) She seems to be full of herself.
2) Her publicist should be fired for not thinking of this.

While it's heartbreaking to think about Enzo's situation I am not so quick to demonize Ina Garten for saying no. I worked as a wish granter for Make-A-Wish for about 4 years and for the most part everyone says yes, but it's not realistic for it to be "yes" all the time, particularly when you are talking about one individual who is being asked to say it.

What I do think she could've done is make a phone call and barring that she could've sent him a tape of one of her shows with a special greeting just for him. There were ways to acknowledge that he is important and that she cares.

I think the backlash is due to what seems like a very cold brush off. At the end of the day she has the right to say no, but I really think she could've handled it better.

So many comments vilifying Ina because somebody's sense of entitlement proved to be unrealistic... People seem to be upset because their selfish desire for cute, sentimental pap was not satisfied. How many requests do we each refuse every day? How horrible it would be to be judged like this for every one.

:

I want to make it VERY CLEAR we have NO ANGER OR ILL WILL toward Ina Garten. Enzo made his request and she declined, end of that story. As much as I know it has REALLY angered people, she has that right. Furthermore it is not our wish to hurt Ina Garten in anyway. Enzo found great comfort in watching her cook when he was going through his toughest times and for that we are so grateful.
AND:
I believe that this media frenzy that has been going on now for about 72 hrs. was originally rooted with good intension. People don’t like to see children suffer or be disappointed. Most people want to reach out with love and support and as a family we are truly humbled (and quite frankly shocked) how many people have taken to the blog sites and media to express their feelings about this. I think the shocking thing is how fast the support and loving passion turned VERY angry, hurtful and vulgar. Even criticizing “The Make a Wish” foundation. They have been nothing but kind and generous (to MILLIONS of people). Bottom line is this is supposed to be about Enzo and he would hate what is going on. He STILL loves “The Contessa” regardless, because THAT is who he is.
This is from Enzo's mom. I think this says it all folks. Enzo’s example is a perfect one to follow. It saddens me to observe how unconcious we as humankind can be. Let's let ourselves Enzo and Ina off the hook. After all, what would you want if you were in Ina's place, for example?

I was a fan but I have change my repertoire since Ina showed her true colors as personality that she is cold as ice an the whole Food Net Work Staff is too. To offer themselfs as the sloppy seconds has left a bad taste in my mouth. How do you say To Big For Your Own Pants, Ina you are that an more. You need to loose some much needed weight from your lips an whole body for that matter!

Ina blew this one plain and simple. It is too late now to try and fix this mess to save her career. So long Ina! So who will be the next Food Network Star?

 
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