The Northern Territory firey was one to watch this season, with his infectious personality and unfiltered approach to the competition. Dan rose to every challenge, becoming something of a master at the Pressure Tests time and time again, wowing the judges with his surprising cooking approach.
Having watched MasterChef in the past, Dan had often shrugged off the idea that he could one day belong in the kitchen, doubting his skills. "With work, we see some traumatic things," Dan told 10 play following his elimination, "an individual, on their casual day at work, ended up in an accident.
"It happens to everyone, your life is as long or short as you're given and there's nothing you can do about it but I think that was enough of a reason to decide that I didn't want to not give things a go because of minor things like being embarrassed or worried about how I might be perceived," he continued. "None of that really matters in the scheme of things."
With a curiosity about food from an early age, Dan said he had always enjoyed the processes of cooking and harvesting ingredients. But when he joined the fierys, it ignited his culinary creativity that set him down a new path.
"On my recruit course the instructors had a bit of a joke, 'Learn one dish, make sure you're good at it because if you come on shift and you can't cook people will give you a hard time,'" Dan recalled, laughing.
"Me being who I was, I was like I want to make the best, extravagant dishes for the crews so I really impress them," he said.
Walking into the station with Gordon Ramsay's slow-roasted beef ribs with button mushrooms and speck, or his own take on a laksa, Dan began to experiment more and more until his passion for cooking was undeniable.
That passion and creativity only further exploded in the MasterChef environment. Though he admits he had his fair share of ups and downs in the competition, once he came to the realisation that he genuinely needed to enjoy what he was cooking, he would always plate up his best work.
"The kale was a huge example of that," he said, laughing, "at first I didn't know what to do with it so I jammed it into a pastry, which didn't quite work."
Exploring some of Melbourne's restaurants, Dan said he looked at how they'd handle various produce, so in an upcoming elimination he was brimming with ideas on how to turn his leafy nemesis kale into a dish he'd really enjoy.
"When I got inspired in what I was doing it worked out for me," Dan said, adding, "when I did terribly I was generally trying to do something I probably shouldn't have been doing."
The first chef to make it into the Top 10, Dan said it was at that point in the competition that he realised he had the potential to make it all the way to the end.
"From there, there were still some good cooks, some bad cooks, but I noticed in the way I was thinking about things... it really started to spark inside."
Throughout the competition, Dan spoke about how the world of MasterChef was 'worlds away' from the rest of his life, where he had always been worried about what his mates would think of his passion for fine dining and cooking.
"It doesn't feel normal yet when someone says I've inspired them or they find me truly inspiring because I've never considered myself that at all," Dan said.
"I've got several messages on Instagram... someone from the UK who loves baking yet they've been a bit embarrassed to get into the baking side of things, but hearing my story they've drawn inspiration from that. It's really lovely to hear that.
"I never expected to inspire anyone from my journey stepping out of my comfort zone," Dan said.
During Monday's challenge, all three chefs struggled at certain points, proving just how brutal of a challenge it really was, with Dan joking he's now bonded for life with Billie and Sarah.
"I think I've summed up that challenge as almost unachievable," he added. "It's just on that edge of achievable, and I can't express how difficult it was."
With a massive four hours on the clock, the three chefs had to design a three-course menu and serve a kitchen full of diners all by themselves. After a few stumbles, Dan said he knew things hadn't gone his way in the challenge.
"I knew that I wasn't going to make it to the final, I would have loved to be in the final don't get me wrong, but I wasn't disappointed because it was such a mission to get that done.
"From my perspective, I looked at the other two, and they're so incredible at what they do... I was a little bit in awe of them," Dan said. "I wasn't disappointed that I didn't make it through because I accepted the fact that those two girls really deserve to be in the final."
Before heading into the MasterChef kitchen, Dan had dreamed of starting up a food truck and travelling around cooking for people across Australia. Now, still fresh from the competition, like Dan himself, his plans have evolved.
"The biggest thing I found most enjoyable in MasterChef was meeting people who know what they were talking about and being exposed to something you haven't seen before and interpreting it in your own way," he explained.
"I love that, [the food dream] has adapted from travelling around and just cooking to travelling around and meeting people that have a niche in what they do.
"I don't know if it’ll take off, I don't know if anyone will be interested in it but it sounds like a lot of fun to me and that sounds like a journey I want to go on. "
The MasterChef Australia Fans & Favourites Grand Finale airs Tuesday at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand