Food Network super-star Ina Garten - better known as the Barefoot Contessa - has agreed to meet Enzo, a cancer-stricken boy she'd repeatedly denied after he reached out through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, at least according to Enzo's family.
A spokesman for the very busy Contessa said she'd only learned of the request this past weekend.
"She looks forward to inviting him to spend some time with her at the Food Network studios," according to a company statement, which also noted that Ms. Garten contributes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among other charities.
But the damage is definitely done.
According to Enzo's family, the cookbook diva refused to meet twice with the boy, a six-year-old who suffers from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For three years, the boy's sole wish was to see Ms. Garten: he would enjoy her cooking show from bed with his mother.
Enzo's mother catalogued the family's snub on her blog, Angels For Enzo.
"To know that out of EVERY THING (material Enzo could choose to have), or ANY PLACE (in the world Enzo could travel to) and out of EVERY PERSON on this earth he chose Ina, and she cannot see what an honor that is," the mother, who signed off as "Mama Pereda" wrote earlier this month.
Mama Pereda also praised the Contessa boycotts that she'd learned of through readers' e-mails, and joked about "cookbook bonfires."
TMZ picked up on the blog and the story triggered waves of vitriol for the Contessa this weekend - criticism that reportedly "devastated" the woman and moved her to reach out to Enzo.
In the mean time, two other Food Network celebrity chefs - Iron Chef Michael Symon and Beau MacMillan - jumped on the bandwagon, reportedly offering to cook with Enzo.
Next Media Animation, the Taiwanese animators behind the infamous Steven Slater cartoon, joined in too, crafting a short that features a black cloud of bad publicity, raining down on Ms. Garten's head.)
The family, in turn, seemed stunned by what they'd helped unleash, this time issuing a desperate post called "PLEASE STOP THE MADNESS." Enzo's mother wrote that the family was over the diss, and had moved on to Enzo's second wish, swimming with dolphins.
"I want to make it VERY CLEAR we have NO ANGER OR ILL WILL toward Ina Garten," she insisted.
What do you think? Is it all too little, too late for the Contessa? Or, can foundations such as Make-a-Wish breed disappointment when a big, busy star is involved?
What about the notion of venting through a sick child's blog?Report Typo/Error