For the first time in MasterChef Australia history, a contestant chose to leave the competition.
On Sunday night, fan favourite Brent Draper - a boilermaker from the Queensland town of Beaudesert - announced he was voluntarily leaving the cooking competition to focus on his mental health.
"I've just got nothing left," he told judge Jock Zonfrillo during the elimination challenge.
It's been amazing having Brent join our #MasterChefAU family. We'll miss you 💙— MasterChef Australia (@masterchefau) June 13, 2021
If anything in this program has raised concerns for you or someone you know, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or https://t.co/DqAvpNRKgX pic.twitter.com/NcOYkljJWz
His decision shocked fellow contestants, the judges and audiences watching at home. But Brent had been struggling with his mental health even before earning his place in the cooking competition.
"It probably [started] way before the show," Brent told Mamamia. "And you know, as men, not really dealing with things, [I was] sort of brushing over things."
During filming, a few things made it worse.
"My mum had a bit of a health scare before MasterChef filming and a passing in the family during, then quarantine twice. But one of the biggest things was homesickness. Just missing out on little things that [my two-year-old son] Alfie was learning," Brent said.
"One of the biggest [filming] stints we did was about seven weeks, I think. And quarantine, it's not a great place for people - no fresh air, not great food, no human interaction and 14 days is pretty long."