Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, known primarily for his cartoonish outbursts of rageful cruelty, chided an 11-year-old child before he was dismissed from Fox’s “MasterChef Junior.”
Gary resident Ben Watkins, who helped operate the Big Ben's Bodacious BBQ and Delicatessen in Gary's Miller neighborhood, lasted five episodes in the sixth season of the “MasterChef Junior” reality show that pits children against each other in "Lord of the Flies"-style culinary competitions. His run on the Fox show was filmed before his parents, Leila Edwards and Mike Watkins, died in a murder-suicide Sept. 16.
Ramsay harangued Ben, who had cooked at a popular barbecue restaurant in Miller Beach, for how he cut lamb in a group competition.
"I’ve seen door wedges that look more appetizing,” Ramsay said after snatching a lamb chop away from Ben's kitchen station and throwing it into the bushes. “I wouldn’t even serve that to my fricking bulldog.”
Ramsay then dismissed Ben’s entire team, telling them to “take their aprons off” and “go pick grapes.”
The show, which aired last week, cut mid-scene to another child who chastised Miller’s precocious restaurant chef for “butchering the lamb like he had his eyes closed.”
Ben's appearance, cheered on at watch parties at Miller Bakery Cafe and throughout Northwest Indiana, still drew some rave reviews. The television blog CarterMatt.com described the tie-dyed-T-shirt-wearing Ben as "an especially notable personality" on the show.
"He was funny, creative and was absolutely excited to be a part of the competition," blogger Matt Carter wrote. "Unfortunately, he was eliminated on the other side of a team challenge on Friday night. That challenge was absolutely intense, as Ben alongside many of the other young home cooks had to try and produce countless dishes for a wedding reception."
Miller residents have been rallying to help the young cook by sending him off to college, where he now hopes to study engineering. They’ve raised more than $21,000 through the #Love4Ben campaign, which people can donate to through a GoFundMe campaign, Paypal and Zelle.
To contribute to Ben's trust fund, visit gofundme.com/love4ben, send a check with #Love4Ben in the memo section to McCain Law Offices P.C., 5655 Broadway, Merrillville, IN 46410, or donate to Zelle or Paypal at Donations@McCain.Law with the note #Love4Ben.
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