Ballarat's very own Tim Bone has fought off the critics and overcome elimination, to reach the Top 5 in Channel 10's Masterchef competition, cooking for a spot in the final four this Sunday night.
While an undeniably charming talent in front of the camera - and the whole of Australia, no less - Mr. Bone's greatest impact is felt here in Ballarat, particularly by the students at Yuille Park Community College, who continue to be inspired by Mr Bone's achievements, says acting principal Brett Shillito.
"Tim's success is the kids success, which also becomes the community's success," said Mr Shillito.
"He gives the kids such a positive role model and someone they can really connect with and to know that if you actually put yourself out there and have a go, take a really good, calculated risk and work to your strengths - anything's possible."
Since returning to Ballarat, Mr Bone has been "overwhelmed" by the unanimous support he's received from all members of the community.
"The support has been great ; everyone's been so positive with genuine appreciation, which has been really lovely," he said.
"One of the reasons I did Masterchef was to inspire the kids and show them no matter what challenges, if you follow your dreams, you can really do whatever you want if you never give up,"Tim Bone
Mr Bone was originally voted off last month, but made an emphatic return back to the nationally aired show, with a sensational serving of steak with parsnip puree, mushrooms, caramelised onions and miso butter, taking home the Second Chance Cook-Off.
Mr Bone said he hoped his miraculous comeback story provided inspiration to his students for whatever challenges they encounter later in life.
"I was devastated but you've got to find out how far you can go; I had to get back in so I just stayed in the kitchen and just practiced, practiced and practiced," he said.
"One of the reasons I did Masterchef was to inspire the kids and show them no matter what challenges, if you follow your dreams, you can really do whatever you want if you never give up," said Mr Bone.
Upon the shows completion, the self described "simple, homely styled cook" plans to reciprocate his hometown's love and support, by opening up a series of markets to further add to an emerging Ballarat food scene.
"I really want to do some wonderful things in Ballarat because I feel it's just such a cultural hub (in regards to its food scene) that has come such a long way," said Mr Bone.
"I'm looking to start up my local market store, like farmers markets, doing gourmet toasted sandwiches - just something to really give back to the Ballarat community.
"I just feel Ballarat's just such an amazing place to be and our food scene in the past 5 years has just boomed and it's a really exciting time to be a part of it all."
Before filming Masterchef over an arduous six months, the former Yuille Park Community College integration aide ran the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program at Yuille Park, an initiative that promotes healthy eating and growing your own produce; something strongly reflected in his cooking.
"It's an amazing program that provides an appreciation that food doesn't just come from a Macca's box or a package."
"Paddock to plate appreciation is pretty special and a real important skill to develop.
"We've even had some students who worked in the school cafe, that have gone on to work in cafes as cooks and baristas, so there's that flow on effect."
Upon reflection on his whirlwind year, Mr Bone said his greatest takeaway was the courage to have confidence.
"In the past I might not have tried something new because I was scared with fear of failure."
"But to be able to do something like Masterchef and come out the other end, I feel like I've just grown in confidence a lot - not just in my cooking ability but my whole persona,
"I now feel a lot better at overcoming any challenge that may come my way."
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