Yuille Park Community College integration aide Tim Bone thought his chance at winning Masterchef was over after being eliminated from the cooking show last week.
But he cooked up a comeback last night with a sumptuous meal of steak with parsnip puree, mushrooms, caramalised onions and miso butter to win over the judges and slip back in to the show ahead of 10 other previously-eliminated contestants in the Second Chance Cook-Off.
Mr Bone, who runs the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program at Yuille Park, said he was grateful for his second chance.
"I'm not going to squander or take for granted this second opportunity I have been given. I feel like I have some unfinished business - I'm going to work harder than ever to show the judges what I'm made of and prove that I belong in this competition," he said.
"I know what it feels like to be eliminated now and it's not a nice feeling."
Mr Bone said he spent time at home with his wife Abbey and dog Harry after being eliminated during a chocolate-laden dessert pressure test last Monday, and enjoyed a meal at The Lake House in Daylesford for inspiration.
"I feel like I have a renewed confidence now that I have fought my way back into the competition. I didn't rest on my laurels when I was eliminated - I practiced and studied hard at home. I know I can do this I just have to push myself and never give up.
"I also want to inspire the students I work with at school and show them that if you work hard and believe in yourself you can achieve anything if you chase your dream."
Mr Bone said the comments and support he head received online and on the street since being eliminated had been supportive and overwhelming.
"I hope everyone, especially those in ... Ballarat, get around me and cheer me on. I'm back in and I want to show them I'm a fighter and make them proud."