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‘I Couldn’t Set Foot In My Kitchen’: Julie Goodwin Opens Up About Her Mental Health In An Emotional Win

On Thursday night, the OG MasterChef, Julie Goodwin, won the first immunity cook of the season.

Returning to the MasterChef kitchen all these years later, Julie has been open with the judges about her doubts that she belongs alongside her fellow chefs. Thursday’s immunity cook saw Julie facing off against Montana, Chris and Harry, three of the fans who have each shown their incredible skill in just a few early challenges.

The four chefs had to use saffron, anchovies, leek and the deep fryer in order to create a dish that would grant one of them immunity from Sunday’s very first elimination.

For Julie, this challenge wasn’t just an opportunity to stand on the gantry during the elimination cook, but it was to once again prove to herself that she hadn’t made a “ridiculous decision” returning to the competition.

“I can’t forget how frightened I was when I first did this, and I wonder if that’s going to be the case again, I don’t know,” she said during the episode.

After winning Season 1, Julie published six cookbooks, opened her own cooking school, appeared on several TV shows and worked in breakfast radio. But during the challenge, she opened up about how she had to step away from many of the things she loved for the sake of her own mental health.

“I’ve really had to do some serious assessment of my mental health and wellbeing,” Julie said. “I reached a point in my life where I had lost my joy, and I had to give up my job on the radio. I couldn’t do that anymore and I actually couldn’t set foot in my kitchen.

“I think, maybe I have done everything that I was here to do, and I’ve achieved everything that’s possible for me to achieve. So this, for me, is an opportunity to see if there is another chapter. If there’s more.”

Taking a risk, Julie served the judges a prawn and chorizo paella with an anchovy crumb, knowing that there was a chance she may not have the right amount of time to perfectly cook her rice. But as the judges tasted the dish, she received rave reviews and won herself immunity.

Tearfully Julie told the kitchen, “When the phone call came to do this, I didn’t know if I could. It’s been a couple of tough years and I didn’t know if I was able to come into this environment.

“I guess my experience last time was very much that I fell over again and again and again. I think I got to the end because every time I fell down, I got back up. And so the phone call to come here was a bit like… it was just like the universe saying it’s time to get back up.”

Later, Julie reflected on her win and her doubts in herself saying she had “so much fear”, and had felt that fear going into her own cooking school just as much as she did returning to the MasterChef kitchen.

“To stand here in this kitchen and cook a dish and have it be deemed worthy, yeah. Maybe I’m not done, maybe there’s more for me.

“Everybody walks their own way through depression or anxiety, but if I had a message to give it would just be, just don’t give up.”

MasterChef Australia Fans & Favourites airs Sunday - Thursday at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand