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MasterChef: The truth behind Ben Ungermann’s mysterious exit

Ben Ungermann’s departure from MasterChef: Back to Win has been shrouded in secrecy ever since his arrest in March over a ‘personal matter’.

And after Ben’s exit was briefly addressed by judge Jock Zonfrillo on Sunday’s episode, newly-eliminated Hayden Quinn has revealed what was going through the contestants’ minds as they processed the news.

He told HuffPost Australia that Jock’s statement was the first and only time the matter was formally discussed on set – and the remaining chefs were completely blindsided.

Unexpected: Newly-eliminated MasterChef star Hayden Quinn (pictured) has revealed what was going through the contestants' minds as they processed the news of Ben Ungermann's sudden departure

Unexpected: Newly-eliminated MasterChef star Hayden Quinn (right) has revealed what was going through the contestants’ minds as they processed the news of Ben Ungermann’s (left) sudden departure

‘It was a real shock for us because we had no idea, obviously,’ said the 34-year-old cookbook author.

‘We turned up and Ben wasn’t there and there was a bit of confusion, and then we heard exactly what you heard on TV last night and that’s pretty much it, that he’s not coming in.

‘I don’t really know much more than that, to be honest.’

'It was a real shock for us because we had no idea': Hayden (pictured) told HuffPost Australia that Jock Zonfrillo's statement on Sunday's episode was the first and only time Ben's exit was formally discussed on set - and the remaining chefs were completely blindsided

‘It was a real shock for us because we had no idea’: Hayden (pictured) told HuffPost Australia that Jock Zonfrillo’s statement on Sunday’s episode was the first and only time Ben’s exit was formally discussed on set – and the remaining chefs were completely blindsided

He also explained why the contestants hadn’t got wind of Ben’s departure before it was addressed by Jock in the gantry.

‘It’s different this season because we don’t all live in the one big house like [before]. We’ve got our own apartments we share with one other person. It’s private,’ he told  Now To Love.

‘So there could be times when you don’t see anyone for a number of days. You might only see someone in the kitchen.

‘Basically we turned up and Ben wasn’t there and Jock said what he said. That was it. I haven’t seen or heard from Ben since, so I know as much as you.’

Gone to ground: Hayden also told Now To Love that he had not 'seen or heard from' Ben (left) since he left the competition

Gone to ground: Hayden also told Now To Love that he had not ‘seen or heard from’ Ben (left) since he left the competition

On Sunday’s episode of MasterChef, Scottish-born restaurateur Jock announced to the group that Ben, 33, was out for good.

He said: ‘So, before we get to today’s challenge, we’ve got some news. You’re probably wondering where Ben is, yeah?

‘Due to a personal matter, Ben has had to leave the competition and he will not be returning.’

The contestants looked shocked, but the episode moved on with no further mention of the issue.

Gone! On Sunday's episode of MasterChef, Scottish-born restaurateur Jock Zonfrillo (pictured) announced to the group that Ben was out for good

Gone! On Sunday’s episode of MasterChef, Scottish-born restaurateur Jock Zonfrillo (pictured) announced to the group that Ben was out for good 

Silence: The contestants looked shocked, but the episode moved on with no further mention of the issue

Silence: The contestants looked shocked, but the episode moved on with no further mention of the issue

Viewers had concluded on Thursday that Ben’s arrest must have happened right before pop star Katy Perry filmed her guest appearance in March.

This is because he was noticeably absent from that episode, despite every other contestant being summoned to the kitchen.

MasterChef producers reportedly held crisis talks that month following the incident.

Executives called the show’s editors into an ’emergency meeting’ and told them to ‘cut him out the best you can’, according to New Idea.

The incident apparently came as a shock to network bosses, with a source saying: ‘No one could have imagined something like that would ever happen.’

Timeline: Viewers had concluded on Thursday that Ben's arrest must have happened right before Katy Perry (centre right) filmed her guest appearance in March. Pictured with judges Andy Allen (left), Melissa Leong (centre left) and Jock Zonfrillo (right)

Timeline: Viewers had concluded on Thursday that Ben’s arrest must have happened right before Katy Perry (centre right) filmed her guest appearance in March. Pictured with judges Andy Allen (left), Melissa Leong (centre left) and Jock Zonfrillo (right)

Edited out: It comes after MasterChef producers reportedly held crisis talks in March following Ben's arrest over a personal matter during filming. Executives called the show's editors into an 'emergency meeting' and told them to 'cut him out the best you can'

Edited out: It comes after MasterChef producers reportedly held crisis talks in March following Ben’s arrest over a personal matter during filming. Executives called the show’s editors into an ’emergency meeting’ and told them to ‘cut him out the best you can’

Ben himself has acknowledged his infrequent appearances on screen, saying in an Instagram post that ‘it’s up to MasterChef’ what happens in the editing suite.

News of Ben’s arrest surfaced on March 24, prompting a spokesperson for Endemol Shine to issue a brief statement to the media.

‘We can confirm Ben Ungermann has left the MasterChef Australia competition. As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment.’

MasterChef continues Monday at 7.30pm on Channel 10

Comment: News of Ben's arrest surfaced on March 24, prompting a spokesperson for Endemol Shine to issue a statement. 'We can confirm Ben Ungermann has left the MasterChef Australia competition. As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment,' they said

Comment: News of Ben’s arrest surfaced on March 24, prompting a spokesperson for Endemol Shine to issue a statement. ‘We can confirm Ben Ungermann has left the MasterChef Australia competition. As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment,’ they said

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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