11-Year-Old Chef Competes On ‘MasterChef Junior’ After Losing Both Parents

Date March 8, 2018

For a long time, 11-year-old Ben Watkins has been dreaming of becoming a chef. Before the tragedy struck the boy’s life, he was working with his parents in their family restaurant, which they named Big Ben’s Bodacious Barbeque & Deli because of Ben’s love of cooking.

The restaurant had to close after Ben’s parents died, but his family members do everything in order to ensure that the boy’s dreams will come true.

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On a tragic day in September, Ben's father, Michael Watkins, 46, shot and killed Ben's mother, Leila Edwards, 43. He then took his own life in their home according to police. None of the family members saw any warning signs and have no clue as to what made Michael Watkins do such thing.

Ben turned 11 four days before he lost both of his parents. He’s a fifth-grader in Chesterton and enjoys science and math. He also volunteers to help rebuild broken bicycles for kids in need. Ben still loves cooking, and now, he’s taking his dream of becoming a chef to the next level.

Ben became one of the contestants on Gordon Ramsey’s Master Chef Junior. He will compete with 39 other children for a $100,000 prize. The boy has been cooking since he was 3 years old, and this is a great opportunity for him to fulfill his dream and open the family restaurant again.

Trent McCain, an attorney and one of the parents at school that Ben attends, organized a Go Fund Me page to offer financial assistance for Ben’s “health, education, maintenance, and support”.

We wish you great success, Ben and will surely be cheering for you!

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