He's scored himself a second chance on MasterChef Australia. Now, Brendan Pang admits he's under more pressure than most, given how much he sacrificed to follow his food dreams.
"I gave up my job, friends and family and moved back home," Brendan, 24, reveals to TV WEEK. "That was a big step back for me.
"I'd also just graduated from university and moved into a secure, professional job."
Prior to appearing on MasterChef Australia, Brendan landed his dream role as a social worker in Broome. But when the chance to cook in front of the nation came along, he made the tough call.
"I've given up the job for good now," Brendan says.
"It does make me nervous – I feel like it puts a lot of pressure on me, because I quit my job. Now, I need to make it worth it, because of what I've given up."
One person who has been by Brendan's side through it all is his mother, Dany.
"I'm so close to my mum," he explains. "I've grown up with her, because my parents separated [when I was] quite young, so she raised us."
Brendan says his parents' heartbreaking split helped steel him for whatever life sent his way.
"I saw my dad regularly growing up," he explains. "But most of my time was spent with Mum. She loves her food too, so my love of that comes from her.
"I looked after my brother when Mum was working, which definitely made me a lot stronger. Plus, I cooked from a young age."
Now, Brendan has grand plans to go into business with his mum, who's a baker, when his MasterChef Australia journey comes to an end.
"My goal is still to open my cafe – something in Perth that highlights Western Australian produce," Brendan says. "But also have my mum involved. She's everything to me."
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Australian Women's WeeklyYesterday 11:00am