East Texas teenager chosen to compete in national chef contest

By Molly Reuter - bio - email

Posted by Dana Hughey bio - email

LINDALE, TX (KLTV) - He's not your typical East Texas teenager.  Benjamin Cooper of Lindale doesn't go home after school and watch TV, or play video games, he cooks dinner for his entire family and loves it.  Ben has now been selected to compete in a prestigious chef contest, hoping to make it big.

He's only 16 year's-old, but Ben Cooper, a Lindale High School Junior says he knows what he wants to do.

"I want to get through school and eventually run my own restaurant, maybe even a couple of them," said Ben.  Not just any school.  Ben wants to attend Johnson and Wales University in Denver, a prestigious culinary school.  To help make that happen, Ben entered an online video chef contest, and the school must have like it.  The school chose Ben to prepare his dish in Miami for a chance at a scholarship.

"The dish is a grilled pork tenderloin with green bean bundles and Roma tomatoes," said Ben.  Ben say's he's been cooking since 6th grade when he met a woman at church who ran a catering business.  Now, Ben cooks dinner for his family almost every night.

"That means a lot to me because I'm a single mom with four teenagers, and with a job and going to school, I don't have time to do a lot of things around here, so him taking that slack away is awesome," said Ben's mother Michele Cooper.  Ben says he loves to make anything on the BBQ, and who knows, one day you may get to try his food right here in East Texas at his restaurant called... "Probably Dukes, just cause John Wayne," said Ben.  "I like John Wayne."

Ben and his family will be flown to Miami to compete in the chef contest on April 3rd.  If you would like to watch Ben's entire video go to our homepage and click on the Know More on 7 link.  There you will find Lindale Teenage Chef.