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MasterChef champ Brent Draper: ‘Jock would be so proud’

The reality TV winner introduces us to his new baby boy Bowie!

Just months after completing the comeback to end all comebacks on MasterChef Australia – taking out 2023’s grand prize of $250,000, having walked away from the competition in 2021 to focus on his mental health – Brent Draper reveals he’s capped off a remarkable year with the arrival of his second child, a baby boy named Bowie!

“He’s amazing – we’re so happy,” tells Brent, 34, speaking exclusively to Woman’s Day. “He’s the calmest, happiest baby. This kid just sleeps and eats. We’re like, ‘OK, when is the penny going to drop?'”

Brent’s wife Shonleigh giggles, “But he’s very happy, content and very calm.”

Born at 2.33pm on 19 November, Bowie was delivered in an “incredible” homebirth by two midwives, who, much to Brent’s dismay, arrived with just minutes to spare. He laughs, “I had the towels and I was like, ‘Right, let’s do this.’ I was ready to deliver him!”

While Brent was sidelined for that arrival, he made sure he put himself to work and instead delivered his own bun from the oven. “I thought it’d be a good idea while things were a lot calmer to cook

some sourdough!” he laughs.

“If I ever had a baby, after pushing it out, I’d think a nice, fresh loaf of bread with butter is exactly what I’d want.

“So I put the bread on and, next minute, things went from zero to 100 and the baby was born, then all of a sudden, my alarm went off for the bread.

He was born before the sourdough was ready.”

“It was so funny,” Shonleigh adds. “After the birth, theyput me back into the bed and I had Bowie on me. Brent was just hand-feeding me fresh sourdough with butter in bed. It just could not have got

any better!

“It was the best thing I’ve ever tasted. I’ve got a master chef for a husband, so I’ve eaten some good food, but that was the best.”

While everyone was ecstatic to finally meet Bowie, no one was quite as hyped as his older brother Alfie.

“He’s just in a love bubble,” says Shonleigh of their five-year-old son. “He was cuddling Bowie this morning and when he got up, he went, ‘Oh, I just feel so loved.’

“We originally thought he wasn’t going to like this kid coming into our life to take all the attention away from him, but he’s been the opposite. He’s obsessed with him – he kisses him on the head and gets him bottles.

“He just keeps telling us, ‘Mum, I can’t believe I’m a big brother.'”

Brent’s new arrival comes seven months after he lost his dear friend and MasterChef judge/mentor Jock Zonfrillo. He admits that any major milestone now is tinged with sadness.

“It’s tough,” Brent confesses. “I always catch myself thinking of him. He’s a big part of my life and a major part of why I changed careers – he’s a big part of my journey.

“But he’d be proud. I do a lot of things for mental health, and the first person there for donations and support was always Jock.

So he’d be very proud of the way I just keep pushing that and becoming a dad again.”

Brent adds that he’s kept in touch with Jock’s wife Lauren and says it’s great that she keeps posting old videos of the chef on his Instagram account.

“It’s been so amazing to see. It’s just good to see him cooking and doing what he loved. His legacy stays alive and his kids get to see him on the screen.”

In memory of Jock, Brent and Shonleigh are determined to continue their hard work around mental health awareness, with the couple excited to announce that a second season of their podcast Behind The Drapes will drop in January.

On top of that, Brent also has plans to release a cookbook, teach some culinary classes and perhaps even make a return to the show that kickstarted it all. “I’d go back to MasterChef as a guest judge, sure,” he admits. “There’s a little bit less pressure. You never know. I’m open to it.”

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