MasterChef judges in tears after contestant's shock exit: 'Can't go on'

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

There were emotional scenes during Sunday night's episode of MasterChef when a contestant made their shock exit from the competition, 40 episodes in.

Food-loving tradie Brent Draper had all three judges and his fellow cooks in tears when it was revealed that he was leaving the show due to 'personal reasons'.

MasterChef judge Melissa Leong was in tears after learning that contestant Brent Draper was quitting the show
MasterChef judge Melissa was in tears after learning that contestant Brent Draper was quitting the show. Photo: Channel 10.

Judges in tears

Judge Jock Zonfrillo was visibly moved when he made the announcement while standing alongside a solemn-looking Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.

"Brent has decided that he is no longer going to be continuing in the competition for personal reasons," he told the assembled contestants.

Addressing Brent, he said: "I know this hasn't been an easy decision to make, and we want you to know that every single person in this kitchen is so proud of you..."

At this point, Jock's voice broke as he struggled to maintain composure.

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MasterChef Jock Zonfrillo looks concerned and teary on set
Jock became emotional as he announced Brent's decision to leave the competition. Photo: Channel 10.

"By the way you cook, and for your courage in making this decision and holding your hand up and saying, 'You know what? I need to sort myself out'.

"The competition's going to be poorer without you."

With tears running down his face, Brent thanked the judges for their support and understanding.

"I admire you so much," he said. "You're such lovely people, you've got the biggest hearts and want us to strive the whole way through.

"So I appreciate everything you've said, um... But I just, I can't go on."

'We are family'

MasterChef judge Melissa told Brent they all just want him to be happy and praised him for speaking up and putting his wellbeing first.

"Please keep in touch. We are a family now, so we want to know how you're going," she said.

"And I think these conversations about what we need to do for ourselves in order to be really happy... it's crucial and it will matter to so many people out there as well."

After returning home to Queensland to be with his wife and son, Alfie, Brent took to his Instagram account to elaborate on his reasons for stepping down from the competition.

masterchef cook brent draper posts on instagram
Brent took to his Instagram account to elaborate on his reasons for stepping down. Photo: Instagram/brentdraper_

He shared a photo of himself holding up his hand in the MasterChef kitchen, explaining that it was the moment he 'asked for help'.

"This is the moment I’ll never forget, and one I’m bloody proud of. This is the moment I put my mental health first, before anything else," he wrote.

"This is the moment I want my son Alfie to see, I want him to see that it’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to hurt and it’s okay to cry. This is the moment that changed everything for me."

Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

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