Real Time Web Analytics Foodie Gossip: The Barefoot Contessa’s Offer to Make-A-Wish Denied

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Barefoot Contessa’s Offer to Make-A-Wish Denied

Ina Garten's offer to Enzo is denied
As reported last week, Ina Garten made one of the biggest PR blunders any TV cook can make: The Barefoot Contessa officially rejected a wish, made by a cancer-stricken six-year-old through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, to cook a meal with her. And then on Monday, in hopes of making retribution, Ina Garten reached out to invite Enzo Pareda to the set of “The Barefoot Contessa” to cook with her on National television.  The Pareda family has justly rejected the offer, saying that they just want to move on. In a statement made to ABC News this morning, Enzo father, Adrian Pareda says:

"We're not going to do it," Adrian Pereda said. "I don't want my son to go through any other stress. We just want to go on with our life."

There are those who have come to Garten’s defense, citing that she is a busy celebrity and we should give her a chance to respond. But regardless of what she would have to say now, I personally feel it’s too little too late. She may get “100’s of requests a month to support charitable causes”, but it’s clear that she’ll only take on causes that deliver the type of publicity that looks good on paper.

ABC News said it best: “The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ has time to star in her Food Network show, pen cookbooks, and cook at charity luncheons for her well-to-do fans.” God forbid she actually does anything that doesn’t directly benefit her career. She had over a year to consider Enzo Pareda’s Make-A-Wish request and chose to firmly decline it. Only after it was leaked to the public and she felt the full brunt of her choice, did she step up – in a half-effort that, once again, would benefit her career more than it would benefit the six-year-old leukemia patient. Now that Enzo is a public figure, of course it would boost her ratings to have him appear on her show.

But Enzo’s wish wasn’t to appear on TV. His wish was to cook a meal with the Barefoot Contessa.

I would be more forgiving if Jennifer Aniston or Derek Jeter had rejected a request like this because, not only are they super star celebrities, their target audience isn’t the [child-loving] domesticated woman. And that said I doubt either would reject such a request. If a celebrity wants to keep their fans, they need to cater to them on a certain level. For some, this means performing in a romantic comedy over an action film or signing autographs just after you’ve lost a big game.

Six-year-old Enzo is excited to swim with dolphins
The wish Enzo made wasn’t a typical wish made by the average six-year-old. It was unique and special and should have been treated that way. It’s just disappointing that such a special wish was wasted on a celebrity foodie with an absent sense of humanity.

Enzo no longer watches the Barefoot Contessa, but he does wear his swim suit to sleep each night so that he can be ready to swim with dolphins as he dreams. He is so excited about his new wish.

More on Enzo Pareda and the Barefoot Contessa:


  1. I doubt the kid really wanted to meet Contessa anyway. According to the mother, this has been his wish for three years. And he is now six. So we are to believe that he first wished for this when he was only three years old. Sorry---I think the mother watched the program when her kid was in the hospital, and she is the one that wants to meet Contessa. Furthermore, she should have never told her kid that Contessa would meet with him when she never said she would. The mother sounds like an extortionist to me.

  2. Furthermore, if Contessa said no, that should be it. She shouldn't be required to meet with a sick kid, regardless of whether it sounds like a small thing or not. Perhaps Contessa isn't good with children, or something. Besides, remember that she was not just expected to meet the kid; she was expected to "cook a meal" with him as well!

    1. You are heartless. You must be a republican

  3. Ina has been made the bad guy in this whole episode courtesy of TMZ & Make a Wish. I will never donate to their organization and TMZ gives sleasy a new meaning. The hatred & vitriol that was flung at Ina was the equivalent to a witch hunt/lynch mob and there are some seriously ill people who comment on line.

  4. JosephP - if the mother watched it that often, the boy knew from an early age that the Contessa is on TV and she cooks. My daughter just turned four and her favorite thing to do since she was two was help me in the kitchen. We don't watch much TV, but I'm sure if we did I would watch cooking shows now and then, and I'm sure that would spark her interest as she already likes being in the kitchen and measuring, pouring and taste testing.

    To the anonymous person who doesn't think that Ina is the bad guy...maybe she shouldn't HAVE to accept the wish, but really? If she can't be bothered for what - half and hour? An hour? to meet with a six year old who may not live to do any of the things he hoped to do when he grew up then shame on her. Unbelievable. I'm not good with kids - I don't even LIKE any other kids aside from my own, but it's not like he asked a whole lot. Good for the family for declining her offer. I hope she gets replaced with someone else.


  5. There is no excuse. None.

  6. I agree with the anonymous poster above that takes TMZ to task for ginning up this hatred towards Ina Garten.

    The type of people that watch TMZ are celebrity worshipers. These people evidently think that celebrities owe the people that worship them something in return. I think it is a form of self-justification for these people---their celebrity worship is what makes the celebrity popular in the first place, and therefore the celebrity owes them appreciation.

    And TMZ encourages this belief by filming celebrities walking down the street and forcing them to spontaneously respond to inane questions. It's as if TMZ is an agent of the celebrity worshiper, and the celebrity cannot spurn them without rejecting their fans.

    People: You need to get over it. If you like some celebrity, like them for the quality of the work that they do---acting, singing, etc. But don't feel that they owe you something in return for your appreciation of their work.

    Like Ina Garten because she is a good and creative cook, not because you think she is a nice person that loves children and wants to donate time to sick ones.

  7. i truly liked her and enjoyed her show......will never feel the same bad...hope she loses her will begin to wane....the sooner the better.....

  8. She should have been honered to have that child on her show. I will never watch her show again she is a fake the way she talks. All my friends feel the same way. She is nothing but a fat pig.

  9. I think it's a disgrace. She has put herself in the public eye and with that comes responsibilities. She would be nothing without her fans. She always has time for affluent people. I will not be thinking the same of her and will not be buying any of her new cookbooks. I'm glad the family stepped away from the offer. My prayers go out to this family for what they are living with.

  10. Ina is a fat slob, let's face it, the kid was lucky it didn't happen because she may have ate him if her 5 pound bag of chips ahoy was running low. You notice on her show all her "friends" leave after the food is gone, that's because they don't want to smell her blubber. Her husband must use a lot of crisco.