After Winning MasterChef Australia, Julie Goodwin Faced a Tough Few Years

Network Ten

After winning the very first season of MasterChef Australia 13 years ago, Julie Goodwin has returned to the reality TV show that made her a household name. 

As one of the 24 contestants on MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites, Goodwin felt the pressure as soon as she walked through those famous doors.

The cook began to doubt her skills and capabilities, and it was judge Jock Zonfrillo who gave her a major confidence boost after tasting her dish.

“It’s been a long time since [Julie Goodwin] was in the MasterChef kitchen,” Zonfrillo told The Latch.

“She said to us, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to go here. The standard of food on MasterChef today is radically different from the season that I won’,” he recalled.

Since being crowned the winner in 2009, Goodwin has published cookbooks, hosted radio shows and even started her own cooking school.

Despite her immense success, she’s also faced a number of personal struggles along the way.

Who Is Julie Goodwin’s Family?

Goodwin has spoken fondly of her family on many occasions — most famously during her audition for MasterChef Australia, where she revealed she was missing her son’s first day of high school for the show. Happily married to husband Michael, the couple share three adult sons: Joe, Tom and Paddy.

Just last year, the family welcomed a new addition — Tom’s baby daughter, Delilah. Now a year old, the little tot has been the light of Goodwin’s life, and quickly turned her into a doting grandmother. 

“I don’t think you can spoil a little baby, if you’re talking about time and attention and singing songs and loving them and kissing them all over the face,” she told Woman’s Day.

Julie’s Mental Health Battle

Ever since she was thrust into the spotlight, Goodwin has been refreshingly open about her mental health struggles, even admitting to spending five weeks in a mental health facility in 2020.

“I wasn’t in the best place,” she told The Australian Women’s Weekly. “If you did an analysis of coming back on just in terms of mental health you’d say, ‘Don’t be an idiot’.”

The reality TV star credits her granddaughter for helping her push through when things began to get tough.

“In the midst of that really awful time I had decided that I was done,” Julie revealed. “I had nothing left to do, my work here was done. That’s where I found myself. That landed me in hospital a bunch of times.”

She added: “So, I’m trying to figure out if my life here is not done, then what the hell is it? Delilah is obviously a massive part of that. She’s a tiny little human who I want to be around for.

“But you know, I can’t live my whole life for her. And I’ve just got to work out what the rest of it is for.”

After suffering from a mental breakdown, Goodwin left her breakfast radio job and had her family supporting her through her dark days.

“I was stuck in a situation of my own creation and I couldn’t get out, I couldn’t see a way out,” she said. “It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be alive anymore, but I couldn’t figure out how to be alive.

“I just had voices that were despairing and dark and wrong, telling me the wrong things.”

She also admitted to feeling like a terrible mother when she would watch her children take care of her during her recovery. 

However, since then, Goodwin has managed to silence her “vindictive inner monologue” with the help of medication, regular exercise and meditation.

What Happened to Julie’s Cooking School?

After her time on MasterChef Australia came to a close, Goodwin decided to open up her own cooking school, named Julie’s Place. From high tea to family meals, there’s a class for everyone no matter your skill level.

Located in Gosford, NSW, Julie’s Place has been thriving after the COVID lockdown put everything to a standstill. Not only do students get to take home Julie’s recipes, but they learn all the tricks of the trade.

MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites airs at 7.30pm on Channel 10 and 10 Play On Demand.

Want more MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites? Read all of our stories here.

If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also speak with someone confidentially at Headspace by calling 1800 650 890 or chat online here.

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