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Barefoot Contessa Says She Didn't Know Cancer Kid Wanted to Meet Her. Yeah, Right.

By carolyncastiglia |

Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, finally says yes to cancer kid.

Ina Garten, more popularly known as The Barefoot Contessa, made headlines this weekend when she refused to grant a child with cancer his wish to meet her.  As our Rebecca noted Saturday, Garten turned 6-year-old Enzo down twice, her “people” citing scheduling conflicts on both occasions.  The LA Times reports today that Garten was actually unaware of the request the Make-A-Wish Foundation had made on Enzo’s behalf.

Mmm-hmm.  That sounds like a whole lotta bologna to me.

According to the LA Times, Garten is “devastated” by the criticism she’s faced in the wake of this mishap.  She claims she “wasn’t aware that the request had been made or rejected,” and is going to call Enzo today “to speak with him and invite him to join her at the Food Network studios,” per a statement released on Garten’s behalf.

Okay, see?  That’s why I think the Contessa is full of shiitake.  If she really cared to set the record straight, she would have sent the message out herself, not had a statement released on her behalf that also stressed what an altruistic person she is.  The LA Times quotes the statement as saying:

“She contributes both personally and financially on a regular basis to numerous causes, including to Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Sadly, it’s of course not possible to do them all.  Throughout her life, Ina has contributed generously to all kinds of important efforts and she will continue to do so.”

Enzo’s tale is just another testament to the power of the Internet to do right.  Yes, we all know the Interwebs can also be a crazy wormhole of wrongness, but in this case, Gawker got wind of the story because “the boy’s family wrote about the rejection on its blog.”  From there, the LAT says, “it was picked up by TMZ and exploded online, with criticism raining down on Garten’s head.”

Enzo’s family came to Garten’s defense – again on their blog – in a post titled “Please Stop the Madness,” and they do “not hold any ill will toward Garten.”

What do you think of the Barefoot Contessa’s sudden change of heart?  True story or is she a jerk chicken?

Photo via Flickr

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About carolyncastiglia



Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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22 thoughts on “Barefoot Contessa Says She Didn't Know Cancer Kid Wanted to Meet Her. Yeah, Right.

  1. brian says:

    I think she is full of it and am completely appalled at her epathy towards a dying cancer kid that loves her show. People should picket her studios. By the looks of her, she needs to put that fork down, get off her ass, and give a little back to her non-hampton, non-glamarous fans. Don’t worry about me b/c you can cross me off that list.

  2. Meagan says:

    I don’t know, or particularly care, wheter her change of heart is genuine, but I don’t think you can conclude that she is insincere just because she’s trying to reverse the bad publicity. As the first person to report on this pointed out, celeb requests might be rejected by schedulers/interns/assistants without the celeb ever even knowing about it. This could have happened in this case, and when she started getting called a heartless jerk by the media, backpeddling furiously is a pretty natural reaction whether or not she made the initial judgment call(s) to snub the kid.

  3. Angela says:

    It’s possible she really didn’t know or she might be lying through her teeth. Either way I’m glad that the kid is getting his wish.

  4. Kim says:

    I believe Ina’a statement that she didn’t know anything about Enzo until this weekend. Most celebrities have “people” who handle stuff like this. I think it’s horrible that a celebrity’s (or noncelebrity’s) career and reputation can be destroyed in a matter of a few days when something like this goes viral. Those who have been doing the lynching didn’t even bother to wait for Ina’s side of the story. No one seems to care that she has supported many, many charitable causes. The things that have been said about her are horrible and vulgar, and it makes me sad that there is so much hate and anger out there. I wish both Ina and Enzo and his family well.

  5. Diane says:

    I was one of her many vehement critics, but at this point, since we can’t be sure, we should take her at her word and let it go. Just give her the benefit of doubt.

    Either way, she’s learned a valuable lesson as to how passionate people can get when they think that a child with cancer has been snubbed. If it really was a mistake, she should get to the bottom of it , because it means that her staff is ou of touch with decent humanity.

  6. Leah Swartz says:


  7. Alison says:

    I think she is doing this due to the backlash that she and Food Network have received. I truly believe she should resign from the Food Network (truly she should have been fired and I am still boycotting anything to do with Scripps that owns FN)…she knew about this she did not think this would get out to the magnitude that it did and now the uppity chef is back-peddling…her show and personality are horrible Food Network would lose nothing from her no longer being on the network.

  8. Greg says:

    barefoot contessa you should feel like DIRT!! Because you are. And your name reminds me of stinky fat feet, and is NOT appetizing in the least. YOU STINK!!!

  9. John says:

    She is completely full of shit!!!! What a lame statement she released to save her own ass! A PR move for sure after the fact! What a BITCH!

  10. Rebecca says:

    She is so full of crap. The kid’s family is sweet for sticking up for her, but I sure won’t watch her show any more.

  11. John says:

    “Mmm-hmm. That sounds like a whole lotta bologna to me.” Really?

    You base this on what? I assume your knowledge is based on being in demand and having a staff to filter out items for you. But, probably not!

    People like you make statements about items you have no knowledge of all the time. You are exactly what is wrong with this country. No knowledge, no facts to support your article but let’s add to the bullshit by passing judgment so quickly.

    Bitches like you with blogs are ignorant, stupid and speculate on other people’s actions. I assume you are perfect all the time…… A true saint. People, this story started on TMZ. TMZ…… people….really.

    As I deal with people with handlers all the time, I can guarantee you that the principal doesn’t know what is happening most of the time. In demand folks like her have a staff do just this and filter things out. You have no idea if she knew or how it was explained to her.

    So instead of saying harsh things about her and calling her a bitch… let’s go with she is telling the truth and when the story went crazy on the net became aware and is trying to make it right.

    The harsh comments on here are truly repulsive.

  12. Sue says:

    I say we hire Good Ole PAULA DEENE to go over and give INA a good old fashioned ASS-KICKIN”

  13. Sue says:

    Two Words for INA…. WEIGHT WATCHERS

  14. Sue says:

    I’de like to Paula Deene’s barefoot up Ina’s Bare-ass

  15. stuart says:

    John – they don’t want to listen to you. TMZ has done such a brainwashing of all of them they won’t listen to the truth. It is too bad that Ina can’t sue them for slander for starting this in the first place.

  16. Krissy says:

    You are nuts if you honestly believe Ina Garten personally sits and reads through all of her appearance requests one by one. You are even more nuts if you think she has the last word on who does and does not get to be a guest on her show. And you are truly nuts if you think Food Network or Scripps Broadcasting would let her write her own statement to the press in response to such a media nightmare. There are producers, directors, writers, publicists and then beneath them lots of production assistants and talent bookers who deal with that stuff way before it ever reaches the ear of a TV host.

    Please stop gassing people up for the sake of getting clicks on your blog. I would say this type of poor journalism/writing is beneath you, but what do I know? It is my first time here. Maybe this really is the best that you can do.

  17. Janie says:

    I would like to address those who are saying she should sue for “slander”. Yes this story may have been leaked by TMZ, but it was stated on Enzo’s blog. It has also been confirmed by Make-A-Wish and hundreds of other media outlets (CNN, MSNBC, New York Times…) and by Ina’s own camp. Slander is to state an “untruth” about an individual – clearly this is not an untruth. Like it or not, celebrities are held accountable professionally for decisions made in their personal lives. Just ask Tiger Woods. Ina herself contacted the family to tell them she “reconsidered” and would like to have them come to her studio. The fact that she “reconsidered” clearly confirms she knew and had made a prior decision she would like to change. Paula Deen and Rachael Ray have both met with Make-A-Wish children and they are actually busy with multiple shows on tv, cookbooks, appearances and a multitude of charity work. Ina has the right to say no to anyone she chooses and I honestly find that selfish if she wants to turn down such a request, but it is her choice. My issue with her is the fact that she is NOT stepping up and being truthful and allowing this to spin so out of control. Journalists on reputable news programs are shocked at the media nightmare she is creating for herself and all associated with her. She is truly showing her character in this.

  18. SL says:

    First, Ina has a VERY small staff; a handful of people. She works from home and films a few weeks out of the entire year in her barn/studio kitchen, works on books/testing recipes the remainder of the time. I heard this directly from her assistant in person and again on the telephone, and then from Ina directly. She also relishes in the fact that she can pick up and trot to Paris whenever she feels like it and isn’t filming. So there you have it.

    There’s no guarantee she knew about the WISH, but it is wholly unlikely she knew nothing about it. I bet she is devastated by the bad press; who wouldn’t be when this comes to light? No one likes bad publicity.

    Long and short, she is the CEO, she is in charge. Her book tour was months ago, well before Christmas. Her weeks for filming may have occurred this spring as well. Nevertheless, meeting with this child for dinner down the street at the 1776 restaurant for a few hours is exactly HOW DIFFICULT? Remember her husband isn’t home during the week, he is a dean and stays near the school during the week (i.e. no dinner to prepare each evening). She appears to have no pets and no children either. With that information, I found it hard to believe she didn’t “have the time”.

    In this life, we make time for the things we believe are important. If she gives to MAKE A WISH, she should have jumped at the HONOR of being asked. A woman with no children of her own, who attests to love children, should have leaped to fulfull this child’s request. A millionair throwing money at a charity is one thing, being TRULY charitable is another, isn’t it? Be true to yourself Ina and what your tell the public about yourself.

    I like Ina, have all her books SIGNED, and travel to her book signings over 4 hours from home. I also like her recipes and her tv personality. However, I think her comments of “not know(ing)” about the WISH, is just large scale DAMAGE CONTROL.

    Ina – your fans made you rich – DON”T FORGET IT. They can drop you just as quickly.

  19. ADY says:

    It is very unlikely that a 6 year old will be interested to meet Ina, sounds more like
    parents wish.

  20. SL says:

    Stuart, Ina’s production company is not SCRIPPS, it is Pacific Productions out of London. She films a few weeks out of the year and these people go back to London, while the episodes are edited and then air after being sold to Food Network for the remainder of the year. Alton Brown does the same thing, but his schedule includes two (three week) filmings a year because he has two shows on Food Network (Iron Chef and Good Eats). Ina and Alton write their books from HOME.

    Ina has a very small remote office with just a few people working for her on a weekday basis. According to Ina herself, she spends most of the year testing recipes to send to her publisher for a new cookbook.

    In other words, all the folks you list, are not roaming through her barn/studio every day of the week, or even every week of the year. Ina owns no restaurants, had a book tour (about 12 appearances before Christmas) and another book tour a few years before that. Do the math, that is about 24 days in two years spent away from home.

    Make a Wish did not send Ina a piece of fan mail, they called her office, which is staffed by two or three people on a regular Monday-Friday basis. With that said, I am sure she contacted a PR person to weather this crisis and issue her diplomatic DAMAGE CONTROL, so she didn’t stick her foot in the mud again.

    Ina doesn’t show up at book signings (her only public event) with a dozen staff persons, she had a two people with her in Dallas. The rest of the people running the event where book store staff.

    Sorry, but the idea of people swirling around Ina Garten on a daily basis, is INACCURATE, TOTALLY. Is her telephone busy, of course it is, coordinating with her publisher, photographer, Stonewall Kitchens that manufacturer her prepared items, etc.

    Does she have a weekday evening (with her husband gone all week) to drive down the street to have a visit with this child? Of course she does. It just wasn’t a priority and thanks to the internet, the world now knows about it.

  21. MIKE says:

    The only people that should be allowed to have an opinion on this is Ina Garten and the family. No one can possibly have an unbiased and legitimate opinion on the controversy without being involved. Keep your opinions to yourself, dont believe everything you read, and dont comment if you dont know the entire background story. How do you know that Ina Garten has a past with cancer and it would be too painful for her to be with Enzo? How do you know that Ina was the one that rejected him, and her representatives werent the ones that pulled the plug? We’ve all been told since we were little to mind our own business and not jump to any conclusions. The choice is Ina’s, and we can not know the entire story.

  22. iris1973 says:

    I’m appalled at the vitriol on this thread considering no one knows the true story. But what disgusts me even more are the fat jokes and nasty comments. Those of you saying such horrid things are just as bad as you claim this woman to be.

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