MasterChef Australia winners: Here's where they all are now

·Contributor
·10-min read

There is nothing like an episode of MasterChef Australia to inspire you to get into the kitchen and create something special for friends and family.

Many contestants are now household names on the celebrity cooking scene in Australia, but some have taken their win and gone in a different direction.

We look at what the winners from the 13 seasons of MasterChef are up to now.

Season 1: Julie Goodwin

Julie Goodwin Instagram pictures
Julie Goodwin won MasterChef Australia in 2009. She continues to cook and has become a grandparent with hubby Mick to baby Delilah. Photo: Instagram/@_juliegoodwin

The inaugural winner of MasterChef Australia was office manager Julie Goodwin.

Since then she has released cookbooks, had TV and radio shows and opened her own cooking school on NSW's Central Coast.

The last couple of years have been tough on Julie, 50, and she has had time out to attend to her mental health.

"I could not find a single grain of energy or joy or anything," she revealed in an interview with the Gold Coast Bulletin in October last year, after admitting she checked herself into a mental health facility in February 2020.

"I was so worn down and I was physically really, really unwell."

Since then she has embraced her new lease on life brought on by granddaughter Delilah, born in January this year.

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Season 2: Adam Liaw

 Adam Liaw and children Christopher, 7, Anna, 5, and Benji, 2,
Adam Liaw and his wife Asami have three kids – Christopher, 7, Anna, 5, and Benji, 2. Photo: Getty Images & Instagram/@adamliaw

After winning the second season of MasterChef Australia, Adam Liaw gave up a promising career in law to follow his passion for cooking.

"I was always kind of interested in and enjoyed doing – and was reasonably good at – a large range of things," he told the Australian Financial Review this year.

"But I was never really a specialist or particularly brilliant at any one thing.

"I didn’t choose one thing."

Instead, he excelled at them all!

Since winning MasterChef, the TV presenter and cook has become a household name as a celebrity chef, bringing his multicultural experiences into the kitchens of Australia.

Season 3: Kate Bracks

 Masterchef Season 3 winner Kate Bracks
Season 3 winner Kate Bracks has returned to her old life as a teacher in country NSW though, of course, she still enjoys cooking. Photo: Network 10 & Instagram/@katebracks

Teacher Kate Bracks enjoyed her time on the show and the post-winning opportunities, but after her contractual duties, she was ready to go back to her old life.

"At that sort of two-year mark, I went, 'Hang on, this is actually not sustainable for us'," Kate told the Inspiration Project podcast.

"There was a fair bit of pressure to move away from Orange, to move back into one of the capital cities, either Sydney or Melbourne, but we had actively made the decision to move into regional New South Wales, so that was never going to be something we wanted to do."

That doesn't mean MasterChef fans have forgotten her.

"People still do recognise me, it doesn’t happen nearly as much, but it still is something that happens," she revealed.

Season 4: Andy Allen

MasterChef Andy Allen in the kitchen. Right, Allen and fiancée Alex Davey
Andy Allen has gone from MasterChef winner to judge. His next big project is his wedding to fiancée Alex Davey. Photo: Instagram/@andyallencooks

Chef Andy Allen has certainly experienced the highs and lows of the industry since leaving his life as an electrician to follow his passion for cooking.

"It changed my life unbelievably and a lot of the guys on my series as well," he told The Latch.

"It really doesn’t matter if you come first or 24th, it changes your life."

He opened the hugely successful chain of restaurants, Three Blue Ducks, though they struck difficulty during COVID and sadly he recently announced the Bronte restaurant's closure.

It hasn't all been bad for Andy, as he has become a judge on MasterChef Australia and is engaged to girlfriend Alex Davey.

Season 5: Emma Dean

Season five winner of MasterChef Australia Emma Dean
Season five winner of MasterChef Australia Emma Dean - then and now! Photo: Instagram/@emmadeancooks

Victorian Emma Dean was the 2013 winner of MasterChef Australia.

After winning, she turned her back on her career as a town planner to follow her love of cooking.

"I got to a point ... where I have worked in a well-paid professional job, but there is no passion or long-term vision for myself in the office.

"Food and growing food has been a constant passion of mine and it makes sense to make the leap of faith into my new life."

She went on to co-host Channel 10's My Market Kitchen for three years and still shares her love of farm-to-table cooking on her social media accounts.

Season 6: Brent Owens

Brent Owens holds his MasterChef trophy aloft, flanked by smiling admirers.
Brent Owens was the winner of MasterChef Australia season 6. Photo: Network 10

It seems when MasterChef 2014 winner Brent Owens conquers one career, he moves on to the next.

Before winning Australia's premier cooking show, Brent was an Australian Rules football player and bobcat driver.

He made headlines after donating $50,000 of his $250 MasterChef winnings to fellow contestant, Emelia Jackson.

After a couple of years as a cook, he left Australia to pursue a career in biotechnology, studying life science at Harvard University and co-founding a biotech company.

He even owns five registered patents.

We can't wait to see what he accomplishes next!

Season 7: Billie McKay

 MasterChef Billie McKay and Haydn Suridge on their wedding day. Right, McKay stands with produce in a restaurant.has married her partner Haydn and continues to explore her love of food.
Since winning MasterChef Billie McKay has married Haydn Suridge and continues to explore her love of food. Photo: Instagram/@billie_mckay15 & Instagram/@thelodgebellingen

30-year-old Billie McKay won MasterChef Australia in 2015.

Guest judge Heston Blumenthal was so impressed, he offered her a job at his internationally renowned UK restaurant The Fat Duck.

Since returning to Australia she has continued to enjoy exploring her love of food and is grateful for her time on the show.

"The whole process reaffirmed that food is what I love and it is what I want to do," she told Delicious Magazine.

Season 8: Elena Duggan

2016 MasterChef Australia winner Elena Duggan with baby Fraser. Right, on the set with servings of food.
2016 MasterChef Australia winner Elena Duggan's latest project is 18-week-old Fraser, a baby brother to her two-year old. Photo: Instagram/@elena_jo_duggan

Fine arts teacher Elena Duggan auditioned for MasterChef to explore her love of fresh ingredients.

"My earliest memories combined two of my greatest passions, art and cooking," she told The Daily Telegraph.

"I’d love to run a farm cafe that would eventually grow all the produce that we use to create the dishes," she added.

She is now a mum to two-year-old Jonathan and new baby Fraser, and continues to cook, educate and create, through her podcast Appetite For Change.

Season 9: Diana Chan

Diana Chan holds her MasterChef Australia trophy. Right, standing with roses in her hair. Below right, embracing a loved one.
Diana Chan won the 2017 season of MasterChef Australia. She continues to share her professional and personal life on her Instagram account. Photo:Instagram/@diana.chan.au

Friends encouraged accountant Diana Chan to try out for MasterChef.

"I used to cook for them a lot and invite them home," she told Mashable India.

"I love dinner parties. I grew up in a household where Mum and Dad always had dinner parties every weekend.

"My friends loved my cooking and told me that I should try for a competition, and so I did, never knowing how it would turn out."

She has become a sought-after media chef with a column in Delicious magazine, a TV show, Asia Unplated with Diana Chan, on SBS, and a pop-up restaurant in Melbourne.

Season 10: Sashi Cheliah

MasterChef Australia 2018 winner Sashi Cheliah holds his trophy. Right, Sashi with wife Rabicca and sons Ryan, 12 and Marcus, 15.
MasterChef Australia 2018 winner Sashi Cheliah with wife Rabicca and sons Ryan, 12 and Marcus, 15. Photo: Instagram/@sashicheliah

After winning the 10th season of MasterChef Australia, former law enforcement officer Sashi Cheliah was determined to embrace all experiences that came his way.

He grew up in Singapore in a traditional Indian family, so developed an appreciation for Indian and South-East Asian food.

"I don’t aim for any particular type of cuisine; what I cook is a reflection of the places I’ve travelled to, the food I’ve eaten and the people I meet," he told ZeeZest magazine.

"We are big on flavours back at home.

"There is no concept of delicately spicing or flavouring our dishes.

"Apart from love, we are generous when it comes to portions of ghee or pistachios.

"We don’t like playing conservative in the kitchen!”

He opened his restaurant Gaja in Adelaide and launched a line of home cooking kits, but it looks like he'll have competition soon, as his son Ryan followed in his footsteps by taking part in Junior MasterChef last year!

Season 11: Larissa Takchi

2019 Masterchef winner Larissa Takchi adds ingredients. Top right, at her wedding. Bottom right, with varieties of pumpkin and squash.
2019 winner Larissa Takchi, who married Luke Dominello this year, shares her foodie adventures on her Instagram account. Photo: Instagram/@larissatakchi & Instagram/@christiemaree_

It was a case of moving from front-of-house to the kitchens when Larissa Takchi traded her career as a restaurant manager to show off her cooking skills.

Just as well, as she became the youngest-ever winner of MasterChef Australia in 2019.

"It was hard being the youngest, I was dealing with contestants who are much older than me, she told SBS Arabic24.

"With age, you’re more exposed to the food industry, so when I joined, in the beginning, I was trying to find out what I was good at.

"My passion for cooking started at a very young age. I was brought up on a stone fruit farm; my grandfather’s farm. I had this connection with food, you know, watching the food grow."

While she continues exploring her love of food, she did take time out to marry partner Luke Dominello this year!

Season 12: Emelia Jackson

Top left, Emelia Jackson and Craig Gersbach. Bottom left, Emelia with baby. Right, Emelia as her win is announced.
Last year's winner Emelia Jackson now has a five-month-old daughter with partner Craig Gersbach. Photo: Instagram/@emelia_jackson

Emelia Jackson got a second chance at the top prize when the season six contestant was bought back for last year's season.

"As a little girl, I was always in the kitchen, beaters in one hand, cake tin in the other, mixing, measuring, making an enormous mess – and loving every minute of it," she says on her website.

Since winning the title, it's been a busy year for Emelia, giving birth to daughter Addie, as well as running her cake design company in Melbourne.

Season 13: Justin Narayan

Justin Narayan and Esther Smoothy with loved ones on their wedding day. Justin with his MasterChef trophy and cheer squad.
Justin Narayan not only won MasterChef but also married his fianceé, Esther Smoothy.

For many, 2021 was a tough year, but for youth pastor Justin Narayan, from Western Australia, he not only won MasterChef but also married his fianceé, Esther Smoothy.

"Just when you thought life couldn’t get any better ..." he wrote on Instagram, posting a picture of the big day, which was less than a week after he was named this year's winner.

"I just really enjoyed cooking for my friends and for my family," Justin told ZeeZest.

"It was just a hobby for me and I didn't think I'd be able to compete on that level, but once I got in, I just tried to study as hard as I could and put in the hard work."

Justin looks forward to expanding his foodie empire.

"I want to get more into the food entertainment space," he said.

"I am looking at a YouTube series with videos of my recipes, sharing stories of different chefs and restaurants that produce incredible food."

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