Celebrity chefs and culinary professionals were saddened by the news of the untimely death of former MasterChef Junior contestant Ben Watkins who died Monday at age 14.
Watkins was by all accounts a perseverant young cook who dreamed of becoming professional one day and opening his own restaurant.
He participated in the 2018 season of the reality show, just a year after losing parents in a tragic murder-suicide incident.
For 18 months, Watkins endured a very rare form of cancer that targets the soft tissue, scientifically called angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma. The aspiring cook was one of only six people suffering from the disease around the world.
“Despite all the pain and sickness Ben went through, he never complained, not once,” Ben’s uncle and guardian Anthony Edwards said.
“We were praying for a different outcome, but, Ben’s lungs could no longer give him the air he needed to breathe. It’s been devastating.”
Edwards described his nephew’s “unreal character” as he was able to remain happy and optimistic despite all the heartbreak.
The young star had worked with his late father at his Big Ben’s Bodacious Barbecue & Deli and set a goal of opening his own eatery in the future.
“We lost a Master of the MasterChefJrFOX kitchen today,” celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay tweeted.
“Ben you were an incredibly talented home cook and even stronger young man. Your young life had so many tough turns but you always persevered. Sending all of the love to Ben Watkins’ family with this terrible loss.”