RIDE OF YOUR LIFE
Former MasterChef winners Julie Goodwin and Andy ndy Allen know it can be a bumpy ride ahead and offer some sound advice to the final contestants, ontestants, writes Shannon Molloy
Whoever takes out this year’s MasterChef Australia title stands to reap a plethora of lucrative and life-changing rewards thanks to their newfound fame.
But win or lose, each of the final five now stands on the edge of extraordinary opportunity. Make the right decision and big things await, but take a misstep and they might crash and burn.
That’s the verdict from two former winners of the Network Ten reality cooking show. No pressure, right?
Julie Goodwin took the crown in the first season of the contest in 2009. Several cook books, multiple brand endorsements, a cooking school, writing gigs and even a stint on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! have followed in the time since.
“I don’t think my feet touched the ground once for about two years. It was an absolute whirlwind — so many wonderful things happened. It was a special time.”
Goodwin, who still lives on the New South Wales Central Coast, is an example of what’s possible for the current crop of hopefuls — if they play their cards right. Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic, Harry Foster, Matt Sinclair and Mimi Baines are vying for the top prize, but all could benefit from their time on the show, she says.
“For the final five, there will be big opportunities for anyone who wants to take them,” Goodwin says.
“It’s not a case of sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring — they’ve got to get out there, hit the ground running.
“And they shouldn’t shut down things that don’t fit in with their initial expectations … with what they thought was going to happen. “Keep an open mind.” Someone who continues to keep his options open is Andy Allen, who won the MasterChef title in 2012.
The “ridiculous journey” that followed is fairly different to his fellow champion alumni, he admits.
“I came out like a deer in the headlights,” Allen says. “There are so many things going on, so many things coming your way. It’s like, what do I do now?”
The former electrician pursued his food dream and worked at Sydney restaurant Three Blue Ducks before forming a production company.
“That business is my other bit of food action. We make a lot of online and TV content.”
Recently he and his restaurant buddies went in together on a new venue in Rosebery, a Sydney suburb, which opened to rave reviews.
Allen’s advice to the finalists — and eventual winner — is to chase variety.
“It keeps things fresh, having a really good balance of things. It means I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve continued testing myself and picking up new skills, which is something I’d suggest.”
As this season comes to crunch time — the final five will be cut to four tonight, ahead of next Tuesday’s grand finale — Allen says that it’s critical to stay positive, now and beyond the show.
“It’s not life or death — have fun with things.”
That positivity will be required after the cameras disappear. Goodwin says she had to develop a thick skin in the years after her MasterChef win and train herself to avoid social media trolls and negative magazine covers.
“I’m much better at that now,” she says. “Those people say way more about themselves with that behaviour than they do about you.”
Another challenge was being “pulled in a million directions” and having to decide quickly which opportunities to pursue, and which to turn down. Goodwin developed a fail-safe system to assess the many deals that came her way.
“It was physically impossible to do everything, and some things weren’t worth doing.
“So with everything, we asked three questions — is it good for the family, does it get us closer to our goals and does it feel right? If the answer to any of those is no, then it’s a very easy decision for me. And that’s the key. I’m blessed with a wonderful family and lots of supportive friends.
“Whoever wins, keep those people close. Consider their advice. And hold on tight — it’s going to be a hell of a ride.”
“I don’t think my feet touched the ground once for about two years”
JULIE GOODWIN ON WINNING
MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA, CHANNEL 10, TONIGHT, 7.30PM
Winning MasterChef has been life-changing for Julie Goodwin and Andy Allen: (inset, from left) final contestants Harry Foster, Mimi Baines, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.