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Mar 26, 2011 08:45 AM

Ina Garten refuses child his Make-A-Wish wish - twice


Have you guys heard about this? I think it's awful..that poor kid. Many people are saying that they will boycott her show.

Michael Symon and Beau MacMillan have called Ina out and are both willing to make this kids wish come true.

  1. I'm glad the other chefs had the heart to step in. This kid most likely does not have the luxury to wait. I won't boycott her show, but when I make her delicious onion dip or pass on the recipe to a friend which is often, I'll tell everyone what she did not do, and how others were generous enough to step up to the plate

    18 Replies
    1. re: michele cindy

      excuse me, but chef m. symon and chef b. macmillan are *actual,* working chefs. ina garten is a food personality and cookbook author, not a chef. it may seem like a small detail but ime the people who have worked their way up from nothing tend to want to give back to others and help out those in need.

      real chefs, even celebrity ones, continue to do hard, sweaty, long-hour physical work, and to work closely with other cooks, farmers, food artisans, delivery dudes and folks from all walks of life (albiet trending to the lower social classes), and to see them as equals. otoh folks who come from a hobbyist/dilettante/get rich-richer-richest position tend to be very important people with too many other things to do, and they figure their handlers can fix everything so they wind up looking good anyway, no matter what the actual situation. ina's pr person is probably just telling it like it really is-- she's a mass communicator with no time for just one kid, dying or otherwise, and she can't interrupt her book tour or appearance schedule for this kind of crap! ;-P

      1. re: soupkitten

        whoa!!!! seems you have extrapolated a whole lot from this that isn't present. So do you know Ms. Garten? Is she a dilettante? She is not a chef, and I never heard her say she was, but she built a store and catering business up successfully, and I would imagine worked very hard to do so. You seem to have made up a bunch of stuff because you're really angry about celebrity cooking personalities???How on earth do you know Symon and the other person works harder than Ms. Garten? How do you know she is such a terrible human being? I ususally really enjoy your comments, but this seems like lots of projection and hostility with little basis in reality. I go back to my previous comment- TMZ is a muckraking organization and not a reputable news outlet.

        1. re: karenfinan

          i wasn't aware that her affluent background was any great secret. her house is the setting for her show, for goodness' sake, and she has literally published volumes about her own lifestyle, and the parties she likes to throw for her friends. if you read her wiki bio, it says right there that she got her start "dabbling" in entertainment and reading julia child books, and that she turned to cooking and entertaining because her stressful job was too much for her. she bought her barefoot contessa boutique (catering to the very affluent) w proceeds she got from flipping houses sold to the extremely affluent in her home area. this is pretty much the definition of a dilettante, and it's a very different career path than someone who starts in restaurants peeling potatoes and mopping walk-ins and cooking the same plate of food over and over, eventually putting in enough time to finally master techniques and methods and developing her/his own style. of course it's arguable, but there is a slim chance that working a broiler line every weekend night and new year's for a year is much more hard physical work (and stressful) than selling a couple of mansions in the hamptons, and it's certainly less profitable. symon and macmillan started humbly as no-name cooks and eventually through hard work made a name for themselves. garten started out with big bucks, a hobby, and presumably big plans to achieve and support the lifestyle she currently has. where am i wrong in simply pointing that out?

          i never said she was an "horrible" person. someone was lumping garten, symon, and macmillan together as "chefs," presumably because all have appeared on t.v., as if the three of them have quite a bit in common. i wanted to point out the background and career path differences between garten and the *actual* chefs--symon and macmillan. i noted that garten was in fact a very successful businessperson, personality and author. unfortunately, she may be an "horrible" person for all any of us know-- one can after all be fabulously successful, and a complete jerk, simultaneously and i'm not naive enough to think there aren't ebeneezer scrooge-types in the world.

          ina doesn't have time for the kid, and has stated this twice. other folks with different backgrounds and working experiences have stated that they *do* have time. i realize that many folks idolize and identify with i. garten for many reasons, heck she has some very good recipes i am sure. if i hit a little close to home, i apologize, but i think that comparing garten's silver spoon background to symon's background in working-class cleveland cooking at rib joints as a teenager and going on to study (on purpose) at the cia before working for years in obscurity in restaurants, then finally opening up his own spots. . . jeez, i'm sorry, but it's all there. again, he's a real chef running restaurants in his hometown, and i guarantee he never got into the game as a teenager because he thought he'd be rich and famous someday. ina is busy making way more money this year than he or chef macmillan (who is noted for his tireless charity work) will ever see in a lifetime. is it any great shock that she doesn't seem to have time for one child? again, without making judgments about garten's personal moral character, i'd answer no, it isn't really a surprise.

          1. re: soupkitten

            She grew up in Stamford CT, not Greenwich or East Hampton, and attended Syracuse University in the 60's. She was not married at The Plaza but at her parent's house. She went on to work in the White House on Energy Policy and then bought the store in East Hampton. And built an incredible business (although not from the one time I visited and left).

            I am a big Symon fan but think no more or no less of him because he grew up on either side of the tracks. Working in an office can be just as demanding as working on the line. I do not criticize those that do the latter and I expect people to do likewise with my line of work.

            1. re: soupkitten

              I have no opinion of Ina other than I have tried some of her recipes and they work well. However, I don't understand what wealth, or lack of wealth,and how hard line cooks work (and I know they work damn hard) has to do with the issue at hand. I don't have a dog in this fight at all, but I do have firsthand experience with half truths and out right falsehoods being published to great negative fall out. I have no idea if that is the case here, but for myself, I would want more than a TMZ item to go on. I also don't think that being a celebrity means you owe every person who asks something of you that you have to fulfill that request.

              1. re: karenfinan

                and I still love reading your posts, sk, you have great wealth :-) of info to share and I appreciate all I've learned from you.

                1. re: karenfinan

                  let's call a truce then! :)

                  my original post was (meant to be) more about how well i regard symon and macmillan for working so hard for their respective successes, and still being so willing to give back-- than how/if i regard garten badly because of this particular media dust-up. i had heard about this w/o seeing the tmz show or link. i always like to see folks from the restaurant industry portrayed in a positive light, heh-- you know, as opposed to drinking too much and snorting coke and generally "bourdaining" around town (sorry can't resist, i know tony bourdain also has a big CH fanclub). i do not regard garten etc. as being "one of us"-- she and the others are primarily media/money people imo. i admit that i do sometimes loathe comparisons between people who have very different backgrounds, jobs and qualifications as "celebrity chefs" but when you get right down to it the media hoopla helps the restaurant industry more than it hurts it.

                  at any rate you are correct that nobody seems to have the entire story, and i certainly don't know ina garten personally. i do think it's great of symon and macmillan to step up to try to make this child's world a little brighter, and as far as i am concerned it can reflect well on them w/o reflecting badly on ina garten.

                  1. re: soupkitten

                    all your points make a great deal of sense to me...I appreciate you taking the time to clarify.

            2. re: karenfinan

              She actually bought what was already a successful store in Easthampton.

              1. re: mcf

                Thn she hired the nastiest staff known to mankind. And yup it went under.

                1. re: jfood

                  jfood- what year did you visit the store?

                  1. re: souvenir

                    The last year it was opened so probably 5-6 years ago is my guess? When we returned the following year it was closed.

                    I remember the girls working there wanted nothing to do with customers, every question was answered with "No" and we were almost intruding on the personal time while they worked.

                    The entire experience left a bad taste in our mouths.

                    1. re: jfood

                      She sold the store to two of her employees in 1996. It closed in 2004. Not sure she can be blamed for bad service the last few years. Well, I guess she can but perhaps not justifiably so.

                      1. re: Leepa

                        That is good data. It was the store and the employees using the Barefoot Contessa name.If this is true then she probably deserves a hall passbut her name was associated with it so she is not fully free from criticism.

                        1. re: jfood

                          I hope I'm not blamed for something that happens in my workplace eight years after I've left.

                          It is true. She owned the building after 1996 but not the store. Nor did she have a hand at all in running it.



                          1. re: Leepa

                            Sorry, but I disagree.

                            If her name is on it and her recipes are being sold in it, then she has an obligation to make sure it meets the standards she sets forth.

                            Your reputation is your most valuable asset, if you sell that and expect a free pass, then you will suffer when others do not maintain your standards.

                          2. re: jfood

                            Of COURSE she's free from criticism of a business she sold years before. C'mon, that was the name of the store before she bought it, too.

                            1. re: mcf

                              well...yes and no, she was writing cookbooks with the name Barefoot Contessa, she wrote and talked about her store in the Hamptons. If it was me,and my name was so closely connected to the store, and I was the landlord, I'd take an interest in the business, as it would inevitably reflect on me.

          2. Before everyone launches World War III on Ina, consider there are always two sides to a story. It is my understanding that a lot parents try to game Make A Wish Foundation in order to extract benefits for themselves.

            I'd like to see a statement from Make A Wish Foundation before I condemned Ina.

            7 Replies
            1. re: ChinoWayne

              Has anyone looked at the Make A Wish site? Here's what I found

              "PHOENIX ­(March 25, 2011) – The Make-A-Wish Foundation has a very strong working relationship with Ina Garten, a celebrity wish granter who has generously made herself available to grant a wish in the past. Ina is a good friend of the Foundation and we are grateful to her for her support of our mission....."

              1. re: paulj

                Thanks Paul for putting out the other side of the story.

                1. re: paulj

                  Thanks--I think there's more to the story than TMZ reported, too. If she were booked, she's booked. It's not that easy to back out of a booked tour. Maybe they've caught her last minute because she's managed to do it before but couldn't these two times. We don't know and, based on that from Make a Wish, I wouldn't immediately jump to conclusions.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Except that she apparently won't attempt to schedule this wish sometime in the future. That's the part that bothers me. That's enough for me to consider Ina to be a (insert your favorite pejorative adjective here). I don't care what she has done in the past or what she does in the future. Right now she's a (insert your favorite pejorative adjective here).

                    Several years ago the national Make a Wish organization really turned me off after the Minnesota chapter granted a wish of a hunting trip. The national organization decided to no longer grant those wishes. My opinion softened a little because last November my niece and her entire family of 6 got to go to Disney World for a week and they were not allowed to pay for a single thing.

                      1. re: huiray

                        Who is Fry Me in Butter? I really don't like to read anonymous blogs. Unless Ina is getting 5 MAW requests a year, I don't really care that she has the right to turn them down. Of course she has that right and I have the right to think poorly of her for doing so.

                      2. re: John E.

                        We don't know that. Who knows if there was a time frame that didn't fit the first time so they took a pass? All we're hearing is one report from an unreliable source that has been known to stretch the truth. If she were that unresponsive to requests, I would think Make a Wish would not have her listed on their site.

                2. I don't consider TMZ a reputable news organization,so I will wait to see if we hear about this from a more reliable source before forming an opinion.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: karenfinan

                    Thank you, this. The second I saw TMZ I was like "just because you got lucky being the first to report that Michael Jackson bought it doesn't mean you're a credible news source." They always go for the dirt first.

                    1. re: karenfinan

                      I did a quick search and found a few other sites with the story. I bet it does hit the more mainstream media and Ina will have to deal with it and it will take more time and attention than if she would have granted the wish. Not to mention the negative media attention.

                      This won't cause me to boycot her show since I don't watch it anyway. (I've only used one of her recipes, shrimp bisque, which tastes good but I made a few changes so I'm calling it mine now).

                    2. There are always 2 sides to every story and a quasi-news organization will always pick the one guaranteed to get the most people up in arms. I don't know what Ina Gartens's personal situation is or what her schedule is or even why she may not choose to do this, but it is her choice and to trash her for it is ridiculous.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: NE_Elaine

                        The reps quote came across very cold however accurate it might be "Unfortunately, as much as she would like to, it’s absolutely impossible for her to grant every request she receives." This kid is DYING how many dying children want to cook with Ina?

                        1. re: michele cindy

                          You may think that the response is cold, but in my opinion it is a very professional response. You don't know how many requests of this sort Ms. Garten gets and responds to positively.

                          I think it is a shame that someone decided to go public with this information in some mis-guided effort to either smear Ms. Garten or force her to acquiese to this kids wish. I am sure there are many times when a wish cannot be fulfilled and I would question why this particular denial was deemed news-worthy.

                          Of course when I see the media outlets that are carrying this "news", I should not be too surprised. TMZ's headline news include stories of high journalistic import such as Linsey Lohans latest quest for publicity and the Kardasian's clubbing in NY. YAWN!

                          I stand by my original opinion - I see no reason to trash Ms. Garten and will not join in the rush to judge her based on this questionable article.

                          1. re: NE_Elaine

                            Do a search a TMZ on Beau MacMillan - you'll get story about him being arrested in Phoenix - over a dispute on the address on a parking ticket.

                            1. re: paulj

                              I looked it up. It was for an unpaid speeding ticket from photo enforced radar. He says he moved and never received the ticket. The speed-enforcement cameras in Arizona have been scrapped by the way.

                            2. re: NE_Elaine

                              I think it should have been a direct quote from Ina and not her rep. That's the part that really infuriates me.

                                1. re: karenfinan

                                  A direct quote from the person is more genuine in this type of sensitive situation, it gives the person the appearance of having more substance, even if they didn't write it themselves.

                        2. This could be no more than what's stated, one chef has a hard schedule and two others are flexible to step in. Looks like Enzo will have some fun with Simon and Beau. Both are real good guys.