- Fox's Kitchen Nightmares has returned after a nine-year absence.
- Gordon Ramsay and Fox have made a tribute to Jerry Ballas, a Make-A-Wish foundation kid on the premiere episode.
- Jerry died on Aug. 23, 2023, at the age of 18 years old from Ewing sarcoma.
If you have a deep affinity for restaurant-focused shows, Kitchen Nightmares may be one of your favorites. The show, which showcases Gordon Ramsay helping failing restaurants turn their business around, first premiered on Fox in 2007 and ended in 2014 with seven seasons. However, Fox has revived the series, and Season 8 hit the small screen in September 2023.
Now that the series is back in full swing, the name Jerry Ballas has been trending on social media throughout September. Fans of the show are wondering if Jerry was a past contestant on one of many Gordon Ramsay-led shows or a fan of the celebrity chef. Here’s the scoop.
Jerry Ballas appeared on Season 8, Episode 1 of ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ and Fox paid tribute to him.
Gordon may be tough on chefs and restaurateurs, but he has a soft spot for children. During Season 8, Episode 1 of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon introduced viewers to Jerry, who was a student at Smithtown High School West in Long Island, N.Y.
In the episode, Gordon sets out to help the Astoria diner Bel AirDiner, owned by brothers Peter and Kal. Gordon provides the brothers with critiques to revamp the restaurant in hopes of turning the business around.
After the changes in the diner were made, guests came in to try out new menu items, including Jerry and his family members. Gordon introduces viewers to Jerry and says he’s a “young man from the Make-A-Wish foundation.”
What happened to Jerry Ballas?
According to Branch Funeral Homes, Jerry passed away on Aug. 23, 2023, at the age of 18 years old. His appearance on Kitchen Nightmares was filmed a few months before his passing.
Per Give Butter, a fundraising page on behalf of the Little Warrior Foundation, Jerry passed away due to Ewing sarcoma.
"Unfortunately, the treatment protocol for Ewing sarcoma has not improved in over 40 years — largely because rare 'childhood' cancers receive next to zero support from the federal government and pharmaceutical industry," the page states. "This is why Little Warrior exists, aiming to fill this void, providing financial support to promising researchers and clinicians to find more effective and less toxic therapies for all Warriors — regardless of age."
Per Mayo Clinic, “Ewing sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.” The organization shares that “Ewing sarcoma most often begins in the leg bones and the pelvis, but it can occur in any bone” and unfortunately, “less often, it starts in the soft tissues of the chest, abdomen, limbs or other locations.”
We’d like to give our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Jerry Ballas.