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“I can’t cook”: Mental health too much for MasterChef’s Brent

Feeling the pressure and distance from family, contestant tells MasterChef his mental health is more important than winning.

MasterChef Australia contestant Brent Draper quit the show last night citing the pressures of the competition and mental health concerns.

After Round 1 of a two round competition, Brent put up his hand to declare, “I can’t cook. Mentally, I’m just not there.”

Admitting he had nothing more to give he was taken aside by judge Jock Zonfrillo.

“I just need to go home. I can’t do it. It’s my mental health.

“I just can’t get it out of my head. It’s just affecting my cook, my sleep, everything.

“I don’t want to but I think it’s the only thing – it’s the right thing. I’ve come to the point where, that’s all that’s going to help me. Getting home, sorting myself out.”

The Queensland boilermaker, 31, indicated he was missing family, but he had also spoken to his wife about his decision.

“She’s supporting me 100%. I just can’t break it,” he told Jock.

But he was also told quitting would be a point of no return.

“I’ve just got nothing left,” said Brent.

There were hugs and tears when he eventually made his departure, effectively cancelling the need for a second round and elimination.

It was a candid yet authentic moment, but Brent is not the first contestant to quit over the 13 seasons of the 10 show.

In addition to the pressures of the TV competition, MasterChef contestants face extended periods away from family. In the past those conditions have included isolation from newspapers, radio and television so ‘focus’ on the cooking contest.

10 also screened a Lifeline alert at the conclusion of the episode.

Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

6 Responses

  1. Well done to Brent for putting his hand up and admitting he was struggling. Kudos to Jock for the way he handled it and spoke to Brent and gave him his beads.
    It’s a shame because I liked Brent and thought he was a great cook and was looking forward to seeing how far he could go.

  2. That was quite a moment for Australian TV. I thought it was handled sensitively and with great care. And given Jock’s discussion with Brent, I’d hazard a guess that this isn’t the first time they’ve spoken about MH matters. Their hug when Brent was leaving was so authentic and you could feel the emotion.

    This is a really good reminder that anyone, even a laughing, ocker boilermaker, can be struggling and we all need to listen to & look out for the subtle signs those around us may need a helping hand.

  3. When you think of the time it takes to film this overlong drawn out series which is 30 weeks I don’t wonder some suffer ,time to cut this back and make it more streamlined.i wish Brent well.

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