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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.


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Sorry, has anyone seen this woman's house? She is beyond rich, not just from her vast branding empire (TV shows, cookbooks, etc.) but her husband used to work for the Clinton administration and ran Yale's School of Management. Sorry, but these people are not hurting for cash and can absolutely spare a few hours to help a sick child. Anyone who watches this show knows how completely pompous and full of themselves they are - completely unaware of life outside their sheltered Hamptons world. I totally agree with the comment about her shirts and insane laughter - she has a screw lose. Anyone who is stupid enough to refuse a sick child twice and not realize the PR nightmare that will ensue deserves everything they get. She is a moron.

1303 days ago


I encourage all of you to write to Food Network and show your disgust with Ina. Her snobby "better than the rest of us" attitude was gross in the first place, but this is just too much.

1303 days ago


I'm not trying to defend anyone...but has any one thought that perhaps this request has never actually gotten to Ina herself? Perhaps her publicist/manager and probably a boat load of other people you have to go through to get to her put they kibosh on it before it even reached her?

1303 days ago


Wow!! What a story and comments. My heart goes out to Enzo's family. I know how tough it is to watch family members with Lymphoblastic Leukemia. My nephew died at the age of 29 after only 8 short months from being diagnosed with it. I wouldn't want anyone else to suffer as I have seen cancer patients suffer and die from this terrible disease.

I'm sure the staff for Ina sees hundreds of requests, but I doubt its from MAWF, or from a 8 year old fan. If Ina did hear about it and decided not to grant the wish originally, then shame on her. She wouldn't be where she is today without her fans.

For all those who have read the story, and made comments... I challenge each and everyone of you to donate $10 to the Relay for Life for the American Cancer Foundation. If you plan on talking the talk, then walk the walk!!

Cancer is a terrible disease, that too many people have and suffer from. I will be joining Team Believe in Maba for the 24 hour event in Newport Beach, and we have been raising money to help families with cancer and the ongoing research to find better solutions.

I want Enzo and others with cancer to live to see another birthday, and many more birthdays. Please don't take life for granted because there are no guarantees.

The granting of the wish to Enzo is now tainted with how it came about... because its like closing the barn door after the horse got out.

Keep up your spirit Enzo, I know its a rough battle for you and your family...take it day by day. I pray you can one day tell your children about this event in your life.

1303 days ago


Bless her for coming to her senses and inviting him to the set! I lost my 9 yr old niece to ALL, she died on the day she turned 9 and a half. I also came to know another parent of a child with ALL, diagnosed at five, deceased at eight. Make this boy's dream come true. Ina will regret it if she does not.

1303 days ago

Mary Kohutiak    

I will never watch her program again. I hope that she looses all her following on her food program. She has a full schedule? I doubt it very much. Even if she did, she could make arrangements for a very sick child. Anyone would make sure that the child wouldn't be disappointed. I am disgusted that she would act that way. I would never have believed it of her.

1303 days ago

james lehman    

Ungrateful selfish pig. I hope her popularity plummets after this and she couldn't get a job as a dishwasher.

1303 days ago


I just heard of this. This should be broadcast on all the news stations across the country. I never liked her in the first place, and now I have just one more reason to dis-like her and that fake show she has. She always came across as being snooty and above the rest of us. The "Barefoot Contessa" never could cook in the first place. I hope a real chef steps up to the plate and invites the little boy to come and cook something with them. I fthe Food Channel is smart --- they will cancel her show.

1303 days ago

KAY Hill    

It very hard to believe that she would put him down twice: Look at the friends you have on your show.(WOW). I bet you were hard to work for???? I don't think I will watch your show any more. Sad.

1303 days ago


Shame on her. How many kids have asked her to cook with her. Also, if there are many kids, have a group session. i HAVE LOST ALL RESPECT FOR HER.

1303 days ago

Jackie Gerace    

She is just saving face, Ina i have always been a huge fan of yours but no more and I'm pretty sure most of my friends will feel the same way.

1303 days ago


I'm not trying to defend anyone...but has any one thought that perhaps this request has never actually gotten to Ina herself? Perhaps her publicist/manager and probably a boat load of other people you have to go through to get to her put they kibosh on it before it even reached her?

1303 days ago


Skipping a couple of meals would free up some time and some space in the kitch

1303 days ago


I think that's lame. It's not like Ina had to go to the kid. Make-a-wish would've sent him to wherever she was at any time whenever she was ready. But I also have to say, Make-a-wish gets some really timely PR opportunities whenever these situations arise. Put the celeb on the hot seat, get exposure on how wonderful the foundation is, and see an extra bump in donations. I also wonder about their intentions...

1303 days ago


She can't grant EVERY wish she receives.....SERIOUSLY? How many requests does this woman receive from Make a Wish? She is a poor excuse of a woman....I will never watch her show again!

1303 days ago
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