The 34-year-old, who first appeared on season 13 but withdrew from the competition to prioritise his mental health, told So Dramatic! it was a “weird” experience watching the show after judge Jock Zonfrillo’s shock passing.
“To be honest, I was struggling to watch it for a bit and then I just thought, I’ve got to respect his legacy and just watch it with love and everything he wanted people to watch it with,” he said.
However, he only saw glimpses of the grand finale and doesn’t have any plans to watch it in full.
“I know what happened, I went through it, and we’ll just leave it at that,” he explained.
“I had a big party for the grand finale and it was on, but I wasn’t really invested in it. I just think you know what, I was there. When I won, [Jock and I] had a hug with each other and he whispered in my ear, he said, ‘You f**king did it’. So I’ll remember that moment, and that’s how I’ll remember the grand finale.”
Speaking about Jock’s untimely death, Brent said that the news was “such a shock” and completely “broke” him.
“It was just crushing,” he shared. “But his legacy on MasterChef will always live on.
“His wife told us just to don’t ever forget him and always talk about him. He loved MasterChef, and I think he was MasterChef. You’ve just got to embrace his legacy.”
Who are the MasterChef judges for 2024?
Brent’s comments come shortly after Channel 10 announced the new line-up of MasterChef judges for next year’s season.
Andy Allen will return for season 16 to continue Jock’s legacy, while Melissa is stepping back from the show after four years.
Andy will be joined by season one runner-up Poh Ling Yeow, food critic and journalist Sofia Levin, and multi–Michelin Star award-winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.
Andy said in a statement: “MasterChef Australia has been part of my life for over a decade. It gave me a pathway into the industry and led me to a career that I'm forever grateful for. After an extremely difficult year in 2023, and upon reflection, the decision to return to the series is not one I took lightly.
“But there is something special in the MasterChef Australia kitchen, and it feels right to come back to work with the amazing production team, and to play my role in seeing the contestants do as I have done. 2024 will be the start of a new chapter, and it will be surreal - yet brilliant - to share this moment with my fellow judges, Poh, Sofia and Jean-Christophe.”
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