Reality TV

MasterChef Australia: Where are the past winners now?

See? Reality TV can change your life...
Loading the player...

Winning MasterChef Australia was clearly a recipe for success for these reality TV favourites, with the likes of Julie Goodwin, Adam Liaw and co. making all their culinary dreams come true after taking out the cooking competition.

From opening their own restaurants to training with some of the world’s best chefs, these MasterChef Australia winners have not taken their time on the hit show for granted.

Starting with…

Julie Goodwin, Season One (2009)

Julie Goodwin was our inaugural MC winner!

(Image: Network Ten) (Credit: (Ten))

After impressing the judges with her family-style cooking, the mum-of-three quit her IT job to write several cookbooks, become a TV and radio star (including a stint on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! in 2015), and launch her own cooking school.

“None of this would have been possible without MasterChef,” she says.

“To think I won a cooking competition and now work in breakfast radio is wonderful, and I’m really enjoying this new chapter!”

Julie returned to MasterChef in 2012 for All Stars and once more in 2022 for Fans vs Favourites where she finished 5th.

Adam Liaw, Season Two (2010)

Adam gave up a lot before becoming our season two winner.

(Image: Network Ten)

Adam gave up his job as a highly paid lawyer in Tokyo to go on the show… and he’s never looked back!

“I’ve been lucky enough that my series for SBS, Destination Flavour, has been running now for six seasons,” he said in 2018.

“I’ve also written six cookbooks, and I’m really proud of each of them.”

He also married since winning the show, and he and Asami share their kids Christopher, Anna and Benji.

Adam also writes a column for Good Food Australia and Sunday Life Australia and in 2022 joined the ABC panel show Tomorrow Tonight.

In May 2022 he also released a seven part podcast series on Audible called How Taste Changed the World.

Kate Bracks, Season Three (2011)

Kate has utilised her win for the greater good.

(Image: Network Ten)

Kate has travelled the country as an ambassador for the Cancer Council’s Eat It To Beat It program.

“The life experiences have been more rewarding than the prize money,” says the mum-of-three, who’s also bought a hobby farm in Orange, NSW.

“We don’t eat off the land entirely, but the ultimate goal would be to do more of that.”

In 2012 she published a cooking book called The Sweet Life.

She currently works as a teacher.

Andy Allen, Season Four (2012)

Andy has gone from former winner to judge!

(Image: Network Ten)

After taking out top spot, Andy is co-owner of the Three Blue Ducks restaurants and famously returned as one of the show’s judges alongside Jock Zonfrillo and Melissa Leong.

He’s also written his first cookbook, The Next Element and works part-time as a cook at his Sydney café Three Blue Ducks.

In 2018 his restaurant was awarded a Chefs Hat, making Andy the first MasterChef Australia contestant to be awarded the highly sought-after honour.

In 2021, he appeared as a co host in Three Blue Ducks, a cooking show based on travelling across the country to seek inspiration for new dishes for the restaurant.

Emma Dean, Season Five (2013)

The lovely Emma is still gracing our screens!

(Image: Network Ten)

After taking out the coveted title, the former town planner has since published her own cookbook and co-hosted a daily cooking show My Market Kitchen with her 2013 MasterChef runner-up Lynton Tapp from 2013 to 2019.

“I don’t have a restaurant because I am a bit risk adverse,” she says.

“However, the show is really fun and the best part is I get to do it with my best mate!”

She is also a regular contributor to Eat Well Magazine.

Brent Owens, Season Six (2014)

Season six winner Brent has taken his knowledge of food overseas.

(Image: Network Ten)

Since scooping the $250,000 prize money, Brent Owens has travelled the world, trying to make a positive impact with his knowledge of food.

“Being exposed to starvation in foreign countries made me recognise the major flaws in the global food ecosystem,” he says.

Today he is a chief research and development officer at Vitrafy Life Sciences, which he co-founded five years ago.

Billie McKay, Season Seven (2015) & Season 14 (2022)

Billie had her sights set off-shore!

(Image: Network Ten)

Less than a month after winning, Billie moved to England to work at Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred The Fat Duck restaurant.

“Working there was fantastic but it wasn’t what I wanted long-term,” she says, revealing her goal is to open a restaurant.

“At the moment I’m on the family farm making cheese with Mum. I’m still cooking but I don’t want to rush into anything!”

Billie joined fellow former winner Julie on 2022’s Fans vs Favourites season and WON the title for a second time around!

Talk about impressive!

Elena Duggan, Season Eight (2016)

Elena is a big advocate for special needs students.

(Image: Network Ten)

While she dreamed of opening a farm cafe after her win, educator Elena decided to continue her work with special needs students, teaching them leadership, hospitality skills and home economics.

“To know I’m giving something to people who are going to be our future leaders, and giving them strength, confidence and life skills to help them move forward, that’s been the biggest highlight,” she says.

Elena has continued to cook, showcasing her recipe creations on her social media pages.

Diana Chan, Season Nine (2017)

2017’s winner has found success in Australia’s foodie hot spot.

(Image: Network Ten)

After winning by a single point, Diana used her prize money to open a pop-up restaurant in Melbourne, Chanteen.

“It serves authentic Malaysian street food, it’s reasonably priced and everything is cooked to order,” said Diana, who’s also designed in-flight menus for Malaysia Airlines.

“I never thought the day would come that I’d fly to London and eat my own food on the flight!” she laughed.

She hosts the Turning Point podcast about her success journey and helping others find theirs. Diana also owns pre-made dumplings and dim sims brand Golden Wok.

In 2018 Asia Unplated with Diana Chan was also launched on SBS Demand.

Sashi Cheliah, Season 10 (2018)

Sashi is enjoying his newfound fame.

(Image: Network Ten)

After taking out the 2018 title, Sashi has been “living the dream”.

He travelled to India where he spoke to The Telegraph, the then 40-year-old said he had been given “lots of offers”.

“In the short-term, I am keeping things fluid. Since winning MasterChef, I have got a lot of offers. I am trying out whatever I like,” he said.

Upon returning, he opened a series of pop-up restaurants called GAJA by Sashi. He eventually settled down in Adelaide and opened a full-time GAJA along with an express version.

Sashi also launched home chef kits called Sashi’s Secret, and he revealed to The Advertiser his plans to open a fine-dining restaurant, The Pandan Club, in India this coming June.

He also joined Julie and Billie for the Fans and Favourites spin-off – placing in 19th place.

Larissa Takchi, Season 11 (2019)

Larissa is helping out at the family cafe.

(Image: Network Ten)

At 22-years-old, Larissa became the youngest ever winner of MasterChef Australia in 2019 and was something of a dessert queen.

But the budding chef decided to keep things close to home by helping out at her family’s cafe, Wildpear in the north west Sydney suburb of Dural.

Larissa is now married to husband Luke and they have welcomed their first child into the world.

Emelia Jackson, Season 12 (2020)

Emelia was the All Stars champ.

(Image: Network Ten)

Emelia took out the toughest season of MasterChef to date in Back To Win, an All-Stars edition of the series.

After placing third in season six in 2014, Emelia returned and beat out bestie Laura Sharrad and dessert king Reynold Poernomo for top prize.

Despite the huge win, Emelia kept her celebration small, mostly thanks to Melbourne’s strict second wave lockdown.

“I’m in Melbourne so it was just me and my boyfriend Craig and then we had my family on Zoom,” she told Now To Love.

“I planned a viewing party, but we’re in lockdown again, so I had to cancel it. It was what it was, but it was still so exciting.”

Since her win, she has welcomed a daughter called Addie, and she has become an ambassador for Queen Fine Foods.

Justin Narayan, Season 13 (2021)

Justin cooked his way to victory in 2021.

(Image: Network Ten)

He was a fan favourite early on and Justin Narayan cooked his way to victory in 2021, beating runners-up Pete Campbell and Kishwar Chowdhury.

To make matters even sweeter, not long after his win Justin tied the knot with his fiancée Esther in a stunning ceremony that was also attended by several of his MasterChef co-stars.

“It was genuinely the best day of my life; winning MasterChef was awesome but getting married was a huge highlight – it’s been a crazy year, so who knows what’s next,” Justin told TV WEEK.

Since his victory, he has been busy creating digital recipe content for his social media accounts to share with his followers.

Nick Riewoldt, Celebrity MasterChef (2021)

The former AFL player wowed the judges and Australia.

(Image: Network Ten) (Credit: (Image: Ten))

Special mentions to the winner of Celebrity MasterChef 2021, former AFL player Nick Riewoldt.

The athlete was able to give the $100,000 cash prize to his charity, Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, which he co-founded after the tragic passing of his sister Maddie in 2015.

Brent Draper, Season 15 (2023)

The dad cooked up a storm to win the 2023 season.

(Image: Network Ten)

Brent Draper originally appeared on MasterChef in 2021, but left the competition to focus on his mental health. Completing the ultimate comeback, Brent took out the title and $250,000 cash prize in the 2023 season!

Just weeks after winning the competition, Brent reveal he capped off an amazing year with the arrival of his second child, a baby boy named Bowie!

Since then, he has continued cooking and documenting his creations, and has also started a podcast with his wife called Behind The Drapes.

Related stories