Publication date April 8, 2022

The Real Reason Behind Brent Draper Quitting Master Chef Show Revealed!

On Sunday night's episode of MasterChef Australia, there were emotional scenes when one of this year's favorites withdrew from the competition owing to mental health concerns.

Brent Draper quitting Master Chef citing Mental Health

Source: Daily Mail

Jock Zonfrillo, Andy Allen, and Melissa Leong were all in tears when they announced that participant Brent Draper would be departing the show for "personal reasons" effective immediately.

Draper explained why in an honest video shared on social media after the show aired, stating he struggled with rising anxiety, panic attacks, and gloomy thoughts while filming, which were aggravated by two different stays in forced quarantine.

Brent put his hand up and said that he couldn't go on because he had "nothing left" as he approached the second round of Sunday's elimination episode.

While the judges appeared sympathetic to Brent's condition, his announcement perplexed his fans. Brent, on the other hand, turned to Instagram shortly after his departure from the show to reveal the details of his quitting. Brent announced his departure from MasterChef in a June episode, although his problems began long before the show began filming several months earlier.

Judge Jock Zonfrillo drew him away, when Brent told the group, "I can't cook." "I'm not there, just psychologically."

"I just need to go home and figure out my mental health," Brent told Jock. "I can't seem to get out of my mind. It only affects my cook and my sleep. Everything. I don't want to, but it appears to be the only option."

"I suppose I've reached a point where that's the only thing that'll assist me. I'm getting home and figuring myself out."

After Brent’s confession in the Sunday night's show, Zonfrillo told to Draper, "Every single person in this kitchen is very proud of you." "For the way you cook, and for the boldness with which you made this decision, holding up your hand and saying, 'You know what?' 'I need to get my act together.’ Without you, the competition will be weaker."

Judge Leong, who has also been vocal about her personal struggles with mental illness, also spoke up.

"Above everything," she said Draper, "we just want you to be happy." "And whatever it takes, we'll be there." We want to know how you're doing because we're a family. And I believe that these discussions about what we need to do for ourselves in order to be truly happy are critical and that they will affect a large number of people."

Brent expressed how proud he was of what he had accomplished and how far he had come as "a tradie who just had a crack" after a tear-filled emotional goodbye with the judges and his fellow contestants.

"I'm leaving with my head held high 100 percent," Brent remarked as he exited the tournament. "I'm very proud of what I've accomplished here." "Like, I'm just a tradie that had a mishap."

"However, my time has come," he continued. "By doing so, I wish to demonstrate to others how important it is to keep an eye on individuals. You never know who's going through a rough patch."

MasterChef fans immediately rallied behind Brent, praising how motivating it was to see a "blokey lad" prioritize his mental health on primetime television.

Everyone noted how amazing it was to witness a man normalizing asking for help when he needed it and not being ashamed to exhibit emotion, particularly when it came to an issue like mental health, which is often overlooked by males.

After the show aired, Draper spoke more about his decision on Instagram, pinpointing the moment he put his hand up and begged for aid on the show — a moment he claims he's "bloody proud of": In an Instagram Live video posted Friday night, Draper went into greater depth about the reasons surrounding his leaving.

He stated he wanted to be "honest" about why he felt compelled to leave the show, saying that his mother became "very ill" shortly before filming began.

Brent said, "Basically, it all sort of started when my mother was pretty sick before the filming of MasterChef. I guess I just shrugged it off too soon, as we boys do, and moved on, straight into quarantine. I've been in quarantine twice and it's not fun. There isn't any fresh air, and there isn't any human connection."

Brent went on to say that not only was he "homesick to the limit" while filming MasterChef, but that his grandmother died and he developed anxiety that he "wasn't coping with effectively," resulting in insomnia and panic attacks.

He also stated he was working 12-hour days and not sleeping, and he was having "serious" panic episodes at night. He packed his belongings and left his hotel in the middle of the night at one point. "I'm not sure where I was heading... but I couldn't take it anymore," he said.

“A lack of routine — things that pump you up like surfing, family, friends, home life — I just didn’t ground myself. And it built on and started to snowball and I started to really get that anxiety and stress build-up, and I wasn’t dealing with it correctly. I just didn’t know about it, I didn’t know what it was,” Brent went on to explain.

“My mind just disconnected. I was thinking the worst of the worst,” he stated. “I tried so hard to mask it every single day with a smile, but it just began to take its toll on me. The balloon nearly popped.”

He finally realized what he needed to do: "I needed to get some help."

"I'm feeling a lot better," he says after a few months and visits to a doctor and a psychotherapist. "The train has returned to its station."

Draper isn't the first Australian reality TV competitor to leave a show following a difficult pre-production quarantine period: Amazing Race viewers were taken aback earlier this year when model twins Alex and Jack Newell abruptly exited the competition in its early stages. Their exit came after they finished second in the race's first challenge, but Jack explained that his brother's mental health had deteriorated during the severe quarantine they were subjected to before filming.

Brent Draper went on The Project to emphasize the significance of men understanding mental health and recognizing that asking for help does not make you weak, as part of his ongoing campaign to de-stigmatize male mental health.

“I’m that fella that’s always laughing and I didn’t really know about mental health. And I didn’t think I ever had anything like anxiety. I didn’t know how to deal with it, no one told me when I was growing up,” Brent explained. “I just hope I’ve inspired a few fellas [to know] that it’s ok to ask for help. Nothing comes out of it negative.”

“I’ve only gotten stronger, I haven’t gotten weaker. I’ve been able to talk more with my mates, and open up a lot more, which just makes me so much stronger as a person,” he said. 

If there is any lesson to be learned from this — it is that Mental Health is no joke and is as important as physical wellbeing. We hope all of you out there reading this are also taking mental health as seriously as Brent Draper is. 

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