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Ben Watkins (2020), “MasterChef Junior” star

by Linnea Crowther

Ben Watkins was a young chef who starred on “MasterChef Junior” in 2018, when he was 11 years old.

A dream of being a chef

Ben appeared in the sixth season of “MasterChef Junior,” cooking classics including peach cobbler with whipped cream and caramel sauce as well as his signature dish, fried chicken with mashed potatoes. He made it to the show’s top 18 and became a fan favorite, winning the hearts of viewers who learned about his tragic story. Ben was orphaned the year before his “MasterChef Junior” appearance, when his father shot and killed his mother before taking his own life. Raised by his grandmother and uncle, Ben dreamed of becoming a chef like his father, who had owned Big Ben’s Bodacious Barbecue & Deli – named after Ben – in Gary, Indiana. The young chef helped out at the restaurant and learned to bake from his mother.

Tributes to Ben Watkins

Full obituary: The New York Times


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