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Kitchen Nightmares pays tribute to diner after 'courageous' cancer fight

Kitchen Nightmares paid tribute to the late Jerry Ballas during its season eight premiere in 2023. After almost 10 years away from screens, Gordon Ramsay is back in the USA turning around people’s food businesses.

As well as helping restaurant owners make some much-needed changes to their businesses, Gordon also had Jerry and his family dine in one of the show’s eateries. Season 8 episode 1 saw Jerry from Make-A-Wish Foundation appear on the Fox show.

Jerry Ballas and his family dine at Bel Aire diner on Kitchen Nightmares Season 8 episode 1
Credit: Screenshot from Kitchen Nightmares/FOX

Jerry Ballas stars in Kitchen Nightmares

After nine years away from the screens, Kitchen Nightmares is back in 2023. Chef and restauranteur Gordon Ramsay is back doing what he does best, rescuing failing food businesses and attempting to return them to their former glory – or better.

During season 8 episode 1, Gordon heads to Astoria in New York to help out brothers, Peter and Kal, who are having issues running their family’s restaurant, Bel Aire Diner.

After making some changes to the Diner, guests are welcomed to try out the revamped eatery including the late Jerry Ballas and his family members.

Fox show pays tribute to Jerry

When Jerry Ballas appeared on Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon refers to him as a “young man from Make-A-Wish Foundation.”

The Fox show also pays tribute to Jerry as he sadly passed away after the episode was filmed.

After battling a pediatric bone cancer, Ewing Sarcoma, Jerry passed away at just 18 years old on August 20, 2023.

A fundraising page for Little Warrior Foundation, in memory of Jerry Ballas, states that he “courageously” fought the disease.

Side shot of Jerry Ballas as he reads a menu at Bel Aire diner on Kitchen Nightmares season 8 episode 1
Credit: Screenshot from Kitchen Nightmares/FOX

Who was Jerry Ballas?

At 17 years old, Jerry Ballas was granted his Make-A-Wish Foundation wish by appearing on Kitchen Nightmares season 8.

He was born in 2005 and attended Smithtown High School West. Jerry could play the piano and cello and was a “member of the String Chamber Ensemble and the Tri-M Music Honor Society,” writes Long Island High School For Hearts.

In April 2021, Jerry was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. On his memorial page, his father urges that people donate blood in aid of cancer research.

“Jerry had received up to 50 pints of blood and platelets trying to fight this cancer. He was never denied anything. Please donate both whole blood and platelets as much as possible.”

On August 26, Jerry was laid to rest at Commack Cemetery in New York.

In the US, contact Cancer Care at 800‑813‑HOPE (4673) or visit this link, [email protected]. You can also call the American Cancer Society on 1-800-227-234 or visit their website (Find Support Programs and Services in Your Area).

In the UK you can call Breast Cancer Now free on 0808 800 6000 or visit Cancer Research UK (Breast cancer resources and support organisations), or Macmillan Cancer Support (Breast cancer).


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