Brent Wells is a chef from Chicago, Illinois. He was nominated for MasterChef Junior Season 3 and won the title of “America’s Next Top Chef” in 2014. He made his debut on the show in 2013 where he became one of America’s favorite chefs due to his unique cooking style and good looks.
He was voted “Best Newcomer” by the public in 2013. He is known for his innovative dishes such as the “Crazy Bread” (a bread roll with bacon, cheese, and fried egg), the “Gingerbread Man” (a man dressed up like gingerbread) and the “Pizza Dough Chicken.”
In 2012 he won Best Chef: Midwest at the National Restaurant Association’s annual culinary awards ceremony. His signature dish was called “The Spicy Pork Ribs,” which are served with sweet potato fries.
On November 7th, 2017, he announced that he would not return for season 4. On October 23rd, 2018, it was revealed that he had died of complications from throat cancer.
In 2012 he won the title of “Best Chef: Midwest” at the National Restaurant Association’s annual culinary awards; his signature dish was called “The Spicy Pork Ribs,” which were served with sweet potato fries. This award propelled him into stardom, and from there, he signed a contract to have his own cooking show on the Travel Channel called “Be Our Chef”, in which he traveled across America and cooked for people in different locations.
He was the youngest winner of MasterChef Junior, and for that he won a $100,000 cash prize and a 3-year lease on a new Fiat. His victory in the third season of MasterChef Junior sparked a huge increase in his popularity. His victory led to him being contacted by different organizations who wanted him to endorse their products. He agreed to endorse a line of knives with Cutco.
His hometown of Decatur, Illinois renamed the street that his high school was on “Brent” in honor of him.
He was born in Decatur, Illinois, to George and Jane Wells. He has an older sister named Jennifer. As a child he enjoyed spending time in the kitchen with his mother, learning how to prepare food and watching her cook.
He met his wife, Allie, at the University of Illinois. She is a teacher, and they married in 2017. He has a daughter named Lucy and son named Jack. They currently live in a mansion in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
On the 23rd of October, 2018, it was announced that he had died from complications of throat cancer on October 16th of that year. He was 31 years old at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife Allie and their two children Lucy and Jack.
Year Award Category Result Ref. 2018 Gold Medal of Excellence Award Won 
Rivalry with Rock Harper
Brent and Rock have a friendly rivalry, he calls her “The big Cheftestant” in jest because of their size difference. In the public eye they are good friends, and people often ship them romantically (in the same way people ship Joe and Claire together). In private however, the relationship is less cordial. They are often arguing, with Brent calling her a “stupid heffer” and her calling him a “smuck”.
Brent’s cooking is heavily influenced by his Midwestern upbringing; most of his dishes contain pork in some fashion. He favors sweet and spicy flavors. His dishes often have a heavy batter or breading.
Due to his young age, he has a tendency to over-season his dishes. He often involves “fancy” ingredients in an attempt to show off. He commonly pairs sweet and savory flavors in a single dish. He seasons his food extensively, sometimes to excess.
His presentation is often sloppy, with ingredients haphazardly placed on the plate. His dishes are usually surprisingly small in size for someone of his build.
Big B’s Hickory Smoked Bacon – It’s just what it sounds like.
Brent’s Basted Baby Back Ribs – Brent’s favorite dish to make, these ribs are cooked in a Coca-Cola and honey marinade before being slathered in a house BBQ sauce and slow roasted for three hours.
Brent’s Fried Apple Pie – An apple pie, only instead of a pastry crust, it has a crispy fried dough crust.
Dirty Red Velvet Cookies – Sweet, fluffy chocolate cookies with a cream cheese icing filling. The recipe was created by his wife, and named after her favorite hangout in New York, the Dirty Dancing Bar.
Peanut Butter Jell-O – It’s like peanut butter and jelly, but jelly made from gelatin and shaped like a brick.
The El Guapo – A chimichanga that Brent claims to have invented at the age of seven. It consists of a deep fried burrito that is then drowned in queso and salsa.
The Shamu special – Its a overly simplistic dish, its just fries topped with meat and cheese… but the simplicity of it all is what makes it work.
Viking’s Choice Salmon – A smoked salmon with an herbed cream cheese filling. This recipe won him the gold medal at the international culinary arts competition.
Wham! Bam! Thank You Cam! – A flourless chocolate cake that he often serves at his restaurant.
It’s dense, rich and chocolaty.
Brent has had two restaurants in his life. The first was the now-closed North End Diner, which served breakfast foods and diner classics. His second is the Bar-B-Q Barn, located in an old barn just outside of Elk Grove Village. It’s a barbecue joint that serves hickory smoked meats, deep fried sides and fresh baked bread.
He has two employees, his son Jack and an East Asian woman named Fuki Nakamura.
North End Diner
Brent’s first restaurant, it was located in the North End district of Boston. It specialized in diner classics like Eggs Benedict, but Brent often found himself bored with the drudgingly routine of running the place. After five years, he closed it down and moved on.
The Bar-B-Q Barn
Brent’s second restaurant, it’s a barbecue joint that is located in an old barn just outside of Elk Grove Village. It seats fifty guests, and has been quite profitable for him. He plans on opening a second location in the near future.
Brent has made quite a bit of money from his restaurants, as well as earning several awards for his cooking. He’s not sharing any of it with you though.
Brent is a native Bostonian and a lifelong resident. He lives in the same house he’s lived in since he was a child with his wife Tanya, who runs a small business from their home. They have one son, Jack, who works alongside his father at the Bar-B-Q Barn.
He also has another son named Daren who was born out of wedlock with an ex-girlfriend, but he has little contact with him.
Brent used to smoke, but Tanya made him quit. He chewed tobacco for a while to quell the urge, but had to quit when he realized how horrible it was for his health.
Brent was once in the army and he still keeps in touch with some of his old military buddies. One of them is a man named Vaughn, who Brent knows from childhood. The other is a man named Edmonds, who he knew from the army. He’s the only one who still keeps in touch with him.
Brent is very active in his church choir and volunteers at a homeless shelter twice a month. He also coaches the high school girl’s soccer team as part of his “community service”.
Brent likes historical fiction, and he especially likes the books of Victor Hugo. He owns every one of his novels. He also reads the newspaper everyday, and is a fan of NPR.
Brent is a smoker and a drinker (not at the same time, though). He has a few drinks every now and then, but doesn’t let it interfere with his job. He used to smoke and chew, but quelled both addictions after Tanya begged him to. He still misses the chewing tobacco the most.
Brent is a very good singer, and used to be in a band when he was younger. He plays the guitar a little as well.
He loves scuba diving, and has been doing it for years with Vaughn and Ed. He owns his own diving gear, including a tank, regulator and flippers. He’s even been diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
Brent isn’t very religious. He goes to church on Christmas and Easter only, and only does it to appease his wife. He doesn’t really think there’s much out there besides himself.
Brent always wanted to be a chef, ever since he was little. His father owned a diner when he was growing up, and he used to make milkshakes and fries for the customers.
Brent never really had any goals in life after he graduated high school. He enlisted in the army for a few years, and then began working as a short-order cook to pay the bills. Eventually, he found his way into the kitchen and realized that was where he could truly shine.
Brent is a very happy man, despite the fact that he has no free time whatsoever. He loves his wife and son very much, and would do anything for them. He tries to live his life to the fullest every day, and hopes that things will only get better for him in the future.
Brent’s stressor is his low paying job and the long hours he works.
His relationships with his friends and family are also a strong factor in how much happiness he experiences in his life.
His personal hobbies give him joy as well.
Brent’s contentedness with his life overall is another big factor in how happy he is.
His physical and mental health also play a part in how happy he is.
Brent’s stress is mainly caused by the frustration that he never has any free time. He works almost all the time, and only gets to see his family occasionally.
He isn’t very happy with the low pay he receives for his job. If he could work at a better place, with higher pay, more benefits and more free time, he’d probably be much happier.
His relationships with his family and friends also contribute to his happiness. If he had a stronger relationship with them, he’d probably be a lot happier as well.
His hobbies do provide him with some happiness, but they aren’t enough to fulfill all his needs. He’d be even happier if he had more time for his hobbies and interests.
Brent is a very contented person, so he experiences a lot of joy in life. His stressors don’t affect him as much as they do to other people.
His outlook on life is that it’s great, so he enjoys everything that he does. Every little thing makes him happy, especially his time with family and friends.
They say the more you have to worry, the less happy you are. This is definitely not the case with Brent. His life may have a few more stressors in it than the average person, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it could be. He’s got a lot to be thankful for.
Brent sets a good example for everyone. He shows that if you have a positive attitude and you stay optimistic, even the worst situations can be dealt with.
Maybe one day he’ll become famous for this, but until then he’s just living his life the best he can.
Sources & references used in this article:
Compensatory proliferation in Drosophila imaginal discs requires Dronc-dependent p53 activity by BS Wells, E Yoshida, LA Johnston – Current Biology, 2006 – Elsevier
Mechanisms of Growth and Homeostasis in the Drosophila Wing by RM Neto-Silva, BS Wells… – Annual Review of Cell and …, 2009 – annualreviews.org
Temporal patterning of neuroblasts controls Notch-mediated cell survival through regulation of Hid or Reaper by C Bertet, X Li, T Erclik, M Cavey, B Wells, C Desplan – Cell, 2014 – Elsevier
Maintenance of imaginal disc plasticity and regenerative potential in Drosophila by p53 by BS Wells, LA Johnston – Developmental biology, 2012 – Elsevier
Preimplantation HLA haplotyping using tri-, tetra-, and pentanucleotide short tandem repeats for HLA matching by SL Bick, DP Bick, BE Wells, MR Roesler… – Journal of Assisted …, 2008 – Springer
Parallel Activin and BMP signaling coordinates R7/R8 photoreceptor subtype pairing in the stochastic Drosophila retina by BS Wells, D Pistillo, E Barnhart, C Desplan – Elife, 2017 – elifesciences.org
The program and policy change framework: A new tool to measure research use in low-and middle-income countries by K Fowle, B Wells, M Day, A Kumar, C Bess… – Research …, 2020 – academic.oup.com
K-Ar dating of illites in Brent Group reservoirs: a regional perspective by PJ Hamilton, MR Giles… – … Society, London, Special …, 1992 – sp.lyellcollection.org