The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

MASTERCHEF run­ner-up Ben Bor­sht will this week un­dergo the life-chang­ing surgery he de­layed to take part in the 10th sea­son of the re­al­ity cook­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

The Bris­bane builder turned foodie, who fin­ished sec­ond to Sashi Che­liah on the Chan­nel 10 show ear­lier this year, un­der­went an emer­gency op­er­a­tion in 2016 af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis, a chronic in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease. The pro­ce­dure was a to­tal colec­tomy, the re­moval of his large in­tes­tine, and he was fit­ted with an ileostomy bag as a re­sult.

Two days be­fore the judges’ au­di­tions – the phase of the com­pe­ti­tion when film­ing be­gins each sea­son – Bor­sht got a call to say he could have the op­er­a­tion to en­able him to live with­out the bag but, as it would have meant bow­ing out of

MasterChef, he de­cided to de­lay it. He’s now hav­ing the surgery be­fore Christ­mas.

“It has been re­ally hard,” he said. “I’ve been putting things off and haven’t fully com­mit­ted to any­thing be­cause the bag does limit me from cer­tain things and I can’t take a job then have the hos­pi­tal call me a month later and say ‘you’re booked’.

“But now I can have a look at a new ca­reer in the New Year.”

While Bor­sht has been keep­ing busy with his pop­u­lar IGTV and YouTube cook­ing se­ries, CatchMe, and will ap­pear on an episode of Net­work 10’s The Cook’s Pantry along­side fel­low Queenslander

Matt Sin­clair, he said the ul­ti­mate goal is to get into a pro­fes­sional kitchen.

“The next step is to build up my skills and pick up new tips and tricks by cook­ing and learn­ing in a kitchen,” he said.

Bor­sht will spend about a week in hos­pi­tal and will take a fur­ther two weeks to re­cover at home, which means he will have a low-key Christ­mas with wife

Cait­lyn (pic­tured with Bor­sht), who he cred­its for be­ing a huge sup­port.

“I re­ally have a lot of re­spect and love for her,” he said.

He said he was glad he de­cided to de­lay the surgery to do MasterChef.

“I had the best time ever (on the show) and it was a life chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “It’s weird how life works out. Some­times it’s all fall­ing into place.”

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