Ben Watkins, Former ‘MasterChef Junior’ Competitor, Dead at 14

by Kayla Zadel

Ben Watkins, the 14-year old made famous for competing in “MasterChef Junior” has died. He lost his battle with cancer Monday, according to his family.

Ben Watkins was undergoing treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for an extremely rare form of cancer. He was diagnosed when he was just 13-years old with a soft tissue tumor. Furthermore, the family says that Ben was one of only 6 people in the entire world diagnosed with the rare illness called Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma.

Watkins was an aspiring chef and even competed on the cooking show “MasterChef Junior.” He was 11 years old and quickly became a fan favorite of the Gordon Ramsay-hosted cooking show. Additionally, he competed during season 6 on the FOX TV show “MasterChef Junior.” The cooking show is a spin-off of “MasterChef.”

The 13-year old continued cooking and used to man the front counter at Big Ben’s Bodacious BBQ and Delicatessen in Gary, Indiana. Furthermore, this was before his parents died 3 years ago in a murder-suicide. Ben’s grandma and uncle remember Watkins as “the strongest person we’ve ever known.”

Ben Watkins Receives Video from ‘MasterChef Junior’

A GoFundMe was set up for Watkins when his former “MasterChef Junior” competitors found out he was battling cancer. They even sent him a special video alongside Ramsay. Ramsay even sent a sweet message to Watkins in the video. Furthermore, the GoFundMe account is now a memorial fund for the teen boy.

His fellow competitors and staff from the show say that they hear he’s battling a rare illness. Additionally, they say they had fun filming “MasterChef Junior” and even hanging by the pool.

As a matter of fact, Ramsay says, “If you can beat me in the Master Junior kitchen, you can beat this.” He finishes with, “God bless and lots of love.”