As Julie Goodwin plays mother to this year’s MasterChef hopefuls, she tells Larry Writer that, after winning last year, she’s finally living her dream – despite those marriage rumours.
When Julie Goodwin meets Marion Grasby at an inner-Sydney studio for The Weekly’s photo shoot, last year’s MasterChef winner gives this year’s girl-most-likely one of her huge mumsy smiles and flings her arms wide. “Come on, love, give us a hug,” she says and engulfs Marion, bone-weary after a gruelling day’s filming, in an embrace that says, “Hang in there, kid. I know what you’re going through. If you do your very, very best and don’t give up, everything will be all right”.
No one’s better placed than Julie to offer Marion, 27 – one of the most accomplished contestants in MasterChef’s second series – a recipe for success. Since triumphing on Network Ten’s reality show, Julie, 39, has become a one-woman culinary phenomenon. She writes for The Weekly, her cookbook Our Family Table sold more than 110,000 copies in its first weeks on sale, she’s soon to star in her own cooking show on the Nine Network, is resident cook on Nine’s Today and folksily spruiks tomato sauce, homewares and plastic wrap.
“My advice to Marion, Claire [Winton-Burn, who has also come to be photographed] and the other contestants,” says Julie, “is no matter how fraught it gets in that house, you must find those inner reserves to stick it out.
“They’ll feel like I did, beaten down and depressed when I desperately wanted to go home to my family, but I persevered despite my loneliness, my sadness when friends were eliminated and my terror at having to put my food in front of the judges, who are nice, but bloody intimidating.”
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Bubbly and funny, despite her long day, student and former journalist Marion says Julie is an inspiration. “We have things in common,” Marion says. “We enjoy food, Julie’s mother and grandmother taught her to cook as my mum, Noi, taught me, and Julie had loved ones cheering her on at home, just as my partner, Tim, is supporting me. Julie wants her own restaurant and my dream is to run a rustic restaurant in a winery with Tim.
“Being a contestant is demanding and emotional. Critics stick it to us because there are so many tears shed, but winning means a lot, so why wouldn’t we get teary? The rest of our lives might depend on how we make a macaroon!”
Read more of this story in the July issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly.
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