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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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A book signing?????And I suppose all those folks paying what, Twenty dollars for a book would not willingly waited a day? I'd rather my insulin dependent grandchild plant his feet under Paula Deen"s table any day. This woman is a travesty to the human race and should be removed from the Food Network immediately.She is not hurting for money and could spare a few minutes. I do believe she black balled herself without a bit of help from anyone. How will it feel to know multitudes won't have any time in the schedule for her??????????

1280 days ago


I will no longer support Ina. Always thought she was to uppity for everyday people. #4 comment much not have a close family or a heart either.

1280 days ago


God doesn't like ugly! Remember he giveth and he will take that stardom right away from you! How dare you! You better hope you remain in good health and never wish for anything; because I trully doubt if you get. You are a selfish person. Keep thinking only of yourself and see how far it gets you. Shame on you!!! You are not all of that anyway!!!

1280 days ago


I loved watching her show, but after hearing her lame excuse, I don't think any book tour is more important then the wish of a child. I will never watch her show again. It's just to late for me. I will just not watch, I wish the child lots of luck and love......


1280 days ago


she's going to have lots of spare time,

1280 days ago


Let's have thousands of members by the weekend.
Boycott Barefoot Contessa Books and shows:

1280 days ago


I dont usually post anything but a story like this is well worth postin. Ina is one selfish person. There is no excuse in granting a kids last dying wish and YES she cannot possibly grant every request however NOT EVERYONE IS DYING REQUESTING ONE LAST WISH. I have never heard of this woman, her show or book and frankly never will support someone like this. I hope everyone sees through this selfish woman and do the same. The world can do without someone like INA!

1280 days ago


If she helps other charities and such that's wonderful...but do you really think there's that many young little boys that ask to cook with her...seriously? I think a bad move...She could have taken a couple of hours out of her book tour I'm sure to do this...oh no...wait...we're talking making money on a book...
and to the person who posted must be a very uncaring and selfish person to say anything like that...I hope you never have any type of tragedy in your life that you might have to deal come out and say something like that makes me sick...

1280 days ago


I've seen her show a few times, and quite frankly, I'd rather watch paint dry. It is absolutely disgusting that it took the threat of bad publicity for her to "suddenly" find time for a sick little boy that has been wanting to meet with her for OVER 3 years!! In my opinion, she doesn't deserve to have him as one of her fans. She should realize that if it weren't for people, like Enzo, that admire and watch her cooking show, she wouldn't have a TV show or books to write and promote. Shame on you, Ina!!

1280 days ago


Ina is just a cook just like you and I. I think that I'm a better cook anyway, lol. IF she were a smart woman, when they asked her to cook with the boy, maybe 1 or 2 hours, she should have done it with no fanfare. The boy would have been happy and she would have done a good deed. It would have been over, eh? NUMBER 100 . you are the biggest A--HOLE. For one thing she doesn't need the money, she sold real estate before this. They have no children so where is their money going to if something happens to them? Well maybe after all this they might have to live off that money, lol. She is a snob. Don't make excuses for her. She knew right along about this. I do hope she loses her show. I sure will never watch her show, I can';t stand that laugh of hers anyway. It's fake just like her. Notice when they are out , sher always has her arm around him instead of him holding her. What does that tell you???

1279 days ago


Before you condemn - I would like to hear Ina's side of the story and then make a judgement...taken on its face, that is pretty crappy of her to say no.

1279 days ago


I'm very saddened by the Contessa's poor decision not to honor a sick child's wish. I have heard many comments stating that the child is not dying but is now in remission (which are particularly disturbing), what difference does that make. He was watching her show while he was battling his illness and simply asked to meet her and cook with her. Had any sick child made such a request from me I would have been honored and very touched that someone who has been through so much would wish to spend time with me. Shame on you Contessa, shame on you, shame on you, shame on you.

1279 days ago


All the complaining in the world will not change the fact that this child's request by this woman was denied. The best way to respond to her is simple. Turn the channel and let The Food Network know you did and why.

1279 days ago


The conflicting schedule story is a lie. She has to be at work for her show anyway, so all the little boy had to do was show up during taping. There would be no conflict. She just was too cold-hearted to let one of her shows include a sick little boy. Shame, shame, shame on her. She has showed the world what she really is.

1279 days ago


Stars (I mean real ones, such as Robin Williams) participate regularly in the Make-A-Wish program, but Ina is too busy? And she turned down his request twice and only reconsidered when she thought it might damage her ratings and business? Ah, Ina showing her true colors. Turn off the oven, this bird is done. She cooked her own goose. Next stop: Oblivion. The Food Network will no longer be viewed in my home. Blocked it on my cable box.

1279 days ago
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