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Celeb Chef -- Too Busy for 'Make-A-Wish' Kid

3/25/2011 3:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The Make-a-Wish Foundation had to break some bad news to a 6-year-old cancer patient this week ... when Food Network star Ina Garten informed them she was too busy to cook a meal with the boy ... TMZ has learned.

Ina Garten Enzo

A family member involved with the Make-A-Wish foundation tells us ... a little boy named Enzo was approached by the organization after he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia three years ago.

Enzo told Make-A-Wish ... he really wanted to cook with the "Barefoot Contessa" host because he would often watch the show with his mother while resting in bed.

M.A.W. approached Garten with the wish last year ... but at the time, she was unable to meet with Enzo due to a book tour.  The organization urged Enzo to pick another wish, but he told them he wanted to wait until she becomes available.

We're told the organization went back to Ina this year ... but her team responded with a "definite no" ... once again, citing scheduling conflicts. 

A member of Enzo's family says the 6-year-old is heartbroken ... and asked parents, "Why doesn't she want to meet me?"

When we called Make-A-Wish for comment on this story, they told us, "From time to time, planning for wishes doesn't turn out as originally envisioned, despite people’s best intentions and efforts throughout the wish-granting process."

They noted that Ina is a "good friend" of the foundation.

A rep for Garten tells us, "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.

The rep continues, "Unfortunately, as much as she would like to, it's absolutely impossible for her to grant every request she receives."

We're told Enzo has now made a new wish -- he wants to swim with dolphins ... and he's already taking lessons to make his dream come true.



1531 COMMENTS

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1486.

Melinda    

One decline might be acceptable, but TWO - appalling! She lost me as a fan.

1280 days ago
1487.

Melinda    

Ina,
Get over yourself already. You're easibly replaced. In fact, you already have - by dolphins. HOW EASY IS THAT!!!!

1280 days ago
1488.

Dee    

I use to watch her show every day. After this story came out ,I have not been able to watch her show, not even for a minute. My kids asked me why I do not watch her and I explained the reason. They to agree that she and her people on food network did not handle this the right way. Have a heart people, this should have been a bigger priority . Whatever happened to empathy ?

1280 days ago
1489.

Barbara    

I cannot believe she did this to this innocent child. I have been a great fan of her for many years, but this has certainly changed my beliefs in her. I know she and her husband do not have any children, but everybody loves kids and in her profession she did a bad thing to her career. This is going to hurt her big time. She not only refused once, but twice....not a good thing for a celebrity of her kind. Money and power does not mean you can toss aside the reality of other people's lives and espcially those that are very ill, like that child. More power to you as you will need. Also, I hope she reads all these comments, that's if she has the time......

1280 days ago
1490.

MH    

For Esther (#1515) and anyone else curious about Garten's side of the story, here it is ... http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dailydish/2011/03/barefood-contessa-ina-garten-to-meet-host-one-of-her-youngest-fans.html

And here's the reaction of Enzo's family to all the online outrage (which they've headlined "Please Stop the Madness") ... http://www.angelsforenzo.com/pleasestopthemadness.htm

1280 days ago
1491.

Columbo    

Remember what's important in life. You should be flattered that a 6 year old is watching your show.

1280 days ago
1492.

RODNEY    

one day barefoot,you are going to stand before GOD&HIS SON...how can you be so HEARTLESS!!!I know how,because money&fame,IS YOUR GOD...I WILL NEVER,WATCH YOUR SHOW AGAIN!!!SHAME,is to good of a word,FOR YOU...WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!!!THAT LOVING KID,IS SO FAR BETTER OFF,NOT MEETING YOU!!!BAREFOOT,YOUR SO CALLED FAME,IS GOING TO FALL OFF,BIG TIME FOR WHAT YOU DID...AND I BET,YOU CALL YOURSELF,AN AMERICAN!!!A WISH,LIKE THAT,AND YOU SAID NO,TWO TIMES...MY MY MY!!!

1280 days ago
1493.

annie    

Ina's heart is tiny, unlike the rest of her.

1280 days ago
1494.

Dee    

To the person who signed by politically incorrect, Your comments are totally incorrect!!!!!
How dare you blame Make a wish foundation or the parents of this darling little boy. SHAME SHAME SHAME on you ! I support this Make a wish foundation for all the wonderful things they are able to do for children who are very very ill. These children do not wish to be sick in order for a dream to come true.
if you had any children , which I doubt ! Then you might have compassion and empathy for them , not
animosity . If you read other peoples comments then you would see that no one agrees with you at all. Thank God !

1280 days ago
1495.

Puckett    

Wow, 1528 comments so far!

Congratulations Ina! That's more comments then i've even seen on a Micheal Jackson or Mel Gibson story. Perhaps a new record? lol

Since this story broke i've diligently changed the channel after Giada is over and Ina's show starts. So much for riding her coat tails Ina. No more strong Giada lead in for you!

The truth is, if it wasn't for Giada's show being on right before hers, i wouldn't even known who she is.

1280 days ago
1496.

Joe Lauren    

Unless your familiar with this kind of broad, you might not know where she is coming from.
She only associates with other wealthy people as the East Hampton elites. She only has time to cook for gays and libs. And traveling between NY, Paris and East Hampton takes up at lot of my time.

1280 days ago
1497.

Jen    

Food Network has still not posted anything on their website about this! TMZ--maybe you should cover that. They should be ashamed.

1280 days ago
1498.

CdB    

Why should she do this if she does not want to or if she does not have the time? This is some random sick child, children die everyday. It is her choice.

1280 days ago
1499.

Lidia    

Ina Garten is a good person .The parents of this little boy are 2 blame.I don't understand why he chose to ''cook''with Ina.
Hey mom you are 2 blame starting the plot against the barefoot contessa.

1280 days ago
1500.

Keith    

Hope her show gets cancelled. Never watch it, never will. What a witch!

1280 days ago
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