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

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

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”



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.

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