After an elbow bump from Andy Allen, Jock Zonfrillo went in for a hug - almost unheard of in the MasterChef kitchen since Covid kicked off in early 2020.
"Oh, well if we're going to do that! Come back here," Andy told the amateur chef, requesting his own hug.
Tom told Yahoo Lifestyle it was a bit of a shock to receive a hug from the judges.
"That was a weird one!" he said. "I got an elbow from Andy, and then Jock went in for the hug and then Andy also wanted a hug. It felt really good that the judges obviously cared about me, I got a good rap when I got eliminated.
"I think there was a good mutual respect between us and they know how much I appreciate the mentorship they gave me over the season. And with that came a few harsh critiques, but on most days I deserved them and I also learned from them. So it was a good way to get eliminated I think."
He added, "The judges are incredibly generous with their time like I mean you see everything that goes on in the challenges but, I mean there were times when the judges would come up to us in between tasting dishes and just give us extra feedback or reassurance, or ask us what was going on and that was really great to have that respect outside the contestant/judging relationship."
Tom was eliminated after failing to impress with a crocodile dish and as a pescatarian, he has "no desire to ever cook it again".
He added that he wasn't all that shocked to be sent home, "early in the cook I was staying very positive, knowing I was always going to struggle with a game meat challenge. Halfway through I was getting really, really desperate."
The contestant added that he wished he had changed his choice of meat with half an hour to go in the challenge, as Andy suggested.
"I just know, in that moment, I just didn't have it in me to change meats. So, I don't regret it, I just retrospectively wish I had," he explained.
Luckily, however, Tom will return to the show with the other eliminated contestants for a second chance.
"Oh, it's incredible, it doesn't even feel like I've been eliminated really because I just sort of come back to the kitchen and I get to cook some more. And the fact there's a couple places up for grabs back in the competition this year, it doesn't feel so hopeless, I get to see all my friends who have been eliminated, I get to do some more cooking in the MasterChef kitchen."
"I feel very grateful to get a second chance," he added.
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