Contestant Withdraws from 'Masterchef Australia' Due to Brain Injury

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By Christine Jane Caparras | May 8, 2014 12:30 PM EST

"Masterchef Australia" announced the shock withdrawal of Top 24 contestant Cecilia Vuong on Wednesday night's episode and gave 18-year old Georgia Hughes a fresh lease on life in the competition.

Gary Mehigan, with the other judges by his side, made the announcement in front of all the remaining contestants:

"As you know, Cecilia is recovering from a brain injury. We received expert medical advice instructing us that it is not in her best interest to continue in the competition. Cecilia is a brilliant cook and we all hope we see her next year in this competition."

Cecilia, a Math teacher, announced early in the show that she is recovering from a skiing accident which occurred a year ago. She had just wowed the judges in the previous episode with impressive macaroons and looked to be in the pink of health.

The injury had caused her to lose her ability to perform simple equations but also gave her the desire to cook.  

Once the announcement was made and Georgia was reinstated into the competition, the show went on as usual and the drama shifted straight back to the kitchen. The contestants had to face the reality that this was a competition and it was time to cook.

The episode did not fall short on cooking drama as several contestants faltered. The mystery box challenge saw 22-year old, Nick Doyle, on top giving him an advantage to choose the theme for the invention round

The invention challenge saw a number of contestants fall by the wayside. Scott Yeoman ran out of time and presented only potatoes to the judges with his chicken still sitting in the oven when time ran out. Amy Shields had to go for plan B and scrambled to make a fresh dish when her curry ended up burnt on her stove.

In the end,  21 out of the 24 contestants will be facing elimination on Thursday including mystery box winner, Nick.

"Masterchef Australia" contestants are competing for $250,000 cash, a Hardie Grant cookbook publishing deal, work experience in some of Australia's best kitchens and an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. 

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