MasterChef Australia fan favourite Khanh Ong has bid farewell to the show with an emotional send-off after he was eliminated from the competition on Sunday night.
The 27-year-old chef was sent home from MasterChef: Back to Win after he failed to wow the judges with his quail dish.
The Victorian chef, who is gay, held back tears as he delivered his departing message.
“This is a hard day for me. But I feel as though there’s a lot of people in the world right now that have gone through so much more than what I’m feeling right now,” he said.
“I just wanna say that you are loved, life gets better. You have your ups and your downs. [If you] ride that, and it’s all gonna work out.’
Khanh, who is gay, wore t-shirts printed with the message “You Are Loved” in every episode of the show.
Ong said the shirts have a very special meaning for him. When he was younger, he spent a lot of time at New South Wales queer youth charity Minus 18’s social events and workshops.
“There was a space where they threw events that made you feel welcomed,” he told 10Daily last month.
“I feel like that’s really important to support something that really helped me when I was younger.”
Khanh explained Minus18 made “me feel loved, included, empowered and special in a time of my life when I was confused, sad and ashamed of myself.”
During his stint on the show, he’s raised tens of thousands for Minus18 selling the “You are loved” shirts online.
Khanh is also releasing his first cookbook, A Gay Guy’s Guide to Life, Love, Food, next month.
Fans thank Khanh Ong after his elimination
Khanh’s elimination on Sunday night left MasterChef fans devastated. Viewers took to Twitter to thank the chef for his time on the show.
“Omg Khanh no. Every time I see your T-shirt it makes me feel less sh*t. You are loved! And thanks for telling me that I am too,” another person wrote.
“I’m crying! Thank you Khanh for bringing Vietnamese heritage to this season,” another wrote.
“Gonna be crying every week now with all the favourites going home,” one other person tweeted.
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