MasterChef contestant Adam Bowen sensationally quit the show last night, admitting that his passion for cooking was not as great as his competitors.
With the show in its eighth week on television, he realised he could not see himself working in the food industry and was overcome with guilt that he would take the spot of a contestant who truly wanted a life change.
“As time went on I realised cooking professionally wasn’t for me,” says Adam. “Being in MasterChef is the toughest thing I’ve ever done – it’s extremely self-confronting. But I didn’t come onto the show to change my life; I came to answer a question of whether I should have followed a career in food when I was 17 years old.
“I have a successful business and a lucky life, who am I to turn around and take the spot of someone who I know would get more benefit out of MasterChef than me?”
The decision – made minutes before one contestant was due to find out their fate in an elimination pressure test – stunned the judges. They had actually judged contestant Danielle Dixon as having the least impressive dish.
“When Danielle was talking about how much she wanted to win the show, I realised I didn’t need my life to be changed,” he says, adding that he hadn’t fully made up his mind that he was leaving until listening to Danielle.
Adam told the judges of his decision at the end of the pressure test that featured George Calombaris’s mum Mary. The core message of the episode was cooking with heart – and Adam knew that he’d lost the heart to continue in the competition.
“The time you have in the MasterChef house with nothing else to do other than be with your thoughts made me focus on things that are truly important to me in life and what isn’t,” says Adam, who names Billy and Craig as real contenders to win.
Adam was competing against contestants Michael Weldon, Ellie Paxton-Hall and Danielle in a 90-minute cook-off to reproduce Mary’s dishes of lamb pastry pies, tzatziki and pita, humous and a shamishi pastry. He was in good spirits throughout the challenge, looking confident, relaxed and even joking with George’s mum.
“Having George’s mum there made the whole pressure test environment a lot more relaxing,” he says. “I was really happy with the way I cooked.”
The affable dive instructor may have put restaurant plans on ice, but he’s enjoying cooking at home and once again concentrating on his dive business in Brisbane.
“I have no regrets,” he says. “MasterChef was a great experience and I’ve made some fantastic friends.”