Having been through his own share of mental health battles, Jock knew exactly where Brent was coming from.
“We had a moment where I just spoke to him, bloke to bloke, and I was able to identify with him in a way that perhaps Andy [Allen] and Melissa [Leong] couldn't, because of my struggles with mental health,” he recalls.
“It was a poignant moment for me and Australian television, because I think it was the first time that something like that really happened on non-scripted television… It was a moment where it was alright for a bloke to put his hand up and go, ‘I'm not alright’.”
On top of poor mental health, the stresses of being in the kitchen and part of the hospitality industry can send chefs into a downward “spiral” like the one Brent found himself in on the show.
In fact, he’s not the only contestant who has opened up about mental health on MasterChef, Jock revealing that he shares a special connection with the many cooks who come through the famous kitchen with their own battles.
Just look at the 2022 Fans and Favourites season, which includes iconic MasterChef winner Julie Goodwin, who has been open with her own battles with depression and anxiety.
“She’s had a fair share of mental health troubles and still does and she's incredibly brave coming back on the show. She's even braver being able to talk about it in the way she does and she's such a brilliant advocate for mental health ,” says the judge.
Like him, many of the MasterChef stars choose to speak up about their struggles in a bid to change the narrative around mental health in Australia.
Jock adds: “Sometimes having people like Julie, or myself, or Brent… talk about it puts it into perspective in a different way, where people that are struggling can see a perspective that they relate to and it can help them.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website.