MasterChef's Brent Draper reveals how Jock Zonfrillo is still supporting him through his mental health journey

Article in - Monday 14th June 2021

Last night, for the first time in MasterChef's long history, a contested opted to leave the competition early, and Brent Draper's emotional moment with judge Jock Zonfrillo was an especially important watch.
Brent chose to leave the intense cooking show to take care of his mental health.
His admirable decision to listen to his wife's suggestion to come home for rest and support was an incredibly poignant TV moment because, for men, mental health is often set aside out of fear of appearing weak.
However, as much as this scene was able to play out on television because we are becoming more literate in men's mental health, Jock's incredibly nuanced and compassionate actions heightened the moment's impact.
Speaking with Now To Love, Brent reveals how Jock's actions in the test kitchen affected him and how the chef has supported him since.
"He's told me he has had anxiety a lot of his life, and he opened up to me on this episode, so him sitting me down was actually really hard.
"Because when he started to tear up, when he started to break, seeing him talk to me on that level and start to break down, I couldn't say anything, so yeah, it was amazing but hard at the same time," Brent recounts from his conversation with Jock during the episode.
Jock has been open about his mental health journey, and he has been an advocate for people struggling, which is why his moment with Brent was so emotional for him.
Brent remembers how Jock opened up to him about his anxiety, which made him realise how anxiety can happen to anyone.
"I remember him saying to me once, 'look at me, I have a wife, beautiful kids, a nice house, I have got money, why do I have anxiety, why?'
"Him saying that was almost like, if he gets it, then we all could get it, it doesn't discriminate, and it really helped me," shares Brent.
It was incredibly impactful when Jock handed Brent his iconic worry beads, and the gesture has been cathartic for Brent.
Even today the beads still act as a grounding pillar for him as he continues to work on his mental health.
"I actually reckon for three weeks after I didn't go anywhere without them (worry beads), and they literally helped me relax and calm down so many times.
"I keep them in my car; they hang in there as a little reminder of where I have been and the people I have as support," reveals Brent.
Jock uses his worry beads to help him navigate his anxiety, and in a video on his Instagram, he explained how he uses them to cope.
"I've got lots of different types of worry beads, and when I'm feeling anxious, or a little bit stressed. Basically, I flick through them like that, and the more anxious and more worried you get, the faster I do it," said Jock.
He has also kept in contact with Brent since he left the show to check up on his health.
However, he isn't the only judge to do so, as Melissa Leong and Andy Allen have also reached out to Brent.
"The judges have all reached out to me, and I have all their numbers now; they are only a message away if I need someone to talk to," says Brent.