Ben Watkins, 11-years-old from Gary, Indiana, underwent a terrible tragedy when he lost both of his parents to a murder-suicide just four days before his birthday last September. According to the Chicago Tribune, his father shot and murdered his mother moments before turning the gun on himself.
Despite this unforeseen grief, Ben's community is focusing on the silver lining. Ben who has a passion for cooking made his first national television debut this past Friday on the 6th season of "MasterChef Junior,” where he will compete for the grand prize of $100,000.
Ben has been a chef at heart since he was three-years-old. He helped open a restaurant with his late parents that was even named after him– Big Ben’s Bodacious Barbecue, Bakery & Deli. Ben loves revamping old recipes and discovering new ones. In an interview with the Times, Ben said, “I just kind of think about things and then mix things up. I have had some disasters, but when I have a disaster sometimes it’s because I forgot to put something in.”
Trent McCain, the attorney for Ben’s grandmother and uncle, who now acts as his guardians, have supported Ben throughout the entire process. McCain established a Gofundme account to help pay for Ben's future culinary education and for his health care.
“I just hope only the very best for Ben. He’s such a remarkable young man who’s smarter than his age,” McCain said.
The Gofundme page and local fundraiser have collectively raised more than $20,000 for Ben's future.