'Barefoot' Backfire: Make-a-Wish Kid Turns Ina Down
By Rob Shuter Posted Mar 31st 2011 09:13AM
It's the PR disaster heard 'round the world. The tables have turned on Food Network star Ina Garten, the 'Barefoot Contessa,' who got caught red-handed last week turning down a Make-a-Wish kid. On Monday, she called the family of Enzo Pereda, a 6-year-old cancer patient, to say she had reconsidered, but now TMZ is reporting they turned her down.
"This has been a disaster for Ina," a foodie insider tells me. "She buried her head in the sand for days hoping the bad publicity would go over, but it didn't."
To a casual observer -- as well as the scores of new ex-fans -- Ina's change of heart on Monday appeared to be possibly driven more by the desire to nip a festering scandal in the bud, rather than to make a sick little boy's dream come true.
"She was worried her initial reaction was hurting her business," my source contends.
Ina had twice blew off meeting Enzo after the wonderful Make-A-Wish Foundation approached her before being shamed into finally contacting his family, independently of the foundation.
"Chefs think they are the new rock stars. And no one has a higher opinion of themselves than Ina," an insider tells me. "She forgot a long time ago that it is the fans who make you who you are. You can be the most talented chef in the world, but if people don't like you, they won't watch your shows or buy your cookbooks."
Ultimately, Enzo's family decided to put an end to the madness and move on from Ina. "I don't want to put my son through all these emotions. We're better off just leaving everything the way it is," dad Adrian told TMZ.
It's great to see that the Pereda family holds no bad feelings and is already getting excited to have Enzo's other wish come true ... to swim with dolphins.
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