Like any new dad, Callum Hann's first thoughts were with his family when the COVID-19 pandemic hit – except for Callum, his wife Chrystal and precious baby girl Elle were 700 kilometres away in Adelaide.
Facing a long separation from his young family thanks to state borders closing, Callum, who was based in Melbourne while filming MasterChef Australia, had to seriously consider his place in the cooking competition.
"It was really difficult," Callum, 31, tells TV WEEK. "When the South Australian border looked like closing, I had to really think about what I was going to do. I couldn't face being separated from Chrystal and Elle for weeks."
Even without a pandemic to deal with, having to leave his eight-month-old at home was a huge sacrifice for Callum.
"I love being a dad – it's such a special time," he says proudly. "I take the competition very seriously, but there's more to life than cooking."
WATCH BELOW: MasterChef's Callum talks about his family. Post continues after video...
Missing out on any of his daughter's milestones was a non-negotiable for Callum.
Thankfully, a solution was hastily found. Callum's "incredible" wife Chrystal, who he married in 2018, rushed to Melbourne with Elle and bunked down in Callum's hotel room while he continued filming.
"We were given special permission to be together so I could stay in the show," Callum explains. "That was a big part in me being able to carry on."
Callum finished runner-up (to winner Adam Liaw) on MasterChef 2010. This time around, he's hoping to go all the way.
"The major threats are Reynold and Laura," he says. "But because it's All Stars, anyone would be a deserving winner. I'm just glad I'm still here to have a shot."