While Reece Hignell was finding his feet in the MasterChef Australia kitchen, things at home weren't going so smoothly.
The talented cook from Newcastle in NSW admits the intensity of the competition took a toll on his relationship with Dean, his partner of four years.
"It [the show] definitely affected it," he says. "Leaving your partner for six months is hard – it was tough. Dean was at home looking after bills by himself, and I'm out here not contributing.
"So, I felt very guilty."
To make matters worse, the all-consuming nature of MasterChef meant the couple struggled to find the time to work through their issues.
"You can't just sit and talk on the phone, because other people need to use it," the 28-year-old explains.
"You don't have unlimited time to talk, but even when you do talk it's hard to get everything across.
"I felt guilty I wasn't contributing to the relationship as much as I could."
Reece admits his relationship woes, combined with the stress of competition, saw him break down.
"I felt anxious and overwhelmed," he explains of his unravelling. "And I found it hard to adapt.
"The judges could tell I was stressed. They sat me down and just said, 'Relax, don't overthink everything – you're thinking too much.'"
Fortunately, it appears all is going well now for lovebirds Reece and Dean.
MasterChef Australia airs Monday to Thursday, and Sunday, airs 7:30pm on Network Ten.