Popular Australian MasterChef inaugural winner Julie Goodwin shocked the showbiz world four years ago when she was charged with drunk driving twice the legal limit.
The much-loved champion, who returned to the season of the show ‘Fans & Favorites’ on April 18, was arrested after trying to evade a police breath test.
After appearing in court with her husband and admitting it was a ‘error of judgment’ and ‘accepting full responsibility’, Goodwin was fined $600 and disqualified from driving for six months.
The 50-year-old chef revealed his harrowing struggle with depression, in 2020, and earlier this year when he said he had spent five weeks living in a mental health facility.
The revelations in February this year came 13 years after Goodwin beat runners-up Poh Ling Yeow with his delicious home recipe in 2009.
The top two contenders’ friendly rivalry and Goodwin’s boon in victory sent the rankings – and the final series in particular – through the roof, with the ‘winner announced’ event ranking of over 3.7 million.
Julie Goodwin won the series premiere of MasterChef Australia in 2009, with runner-up Poh Ling Yeow. Recent show ratings attracted more than 3.7 million viewers
Julie Goodwin (above) arrives at Gosford Local Court in 2018 after she tested 0.107 during a crackdown on drunk driving by Brisbane Water Police following an event she served
Goodwin, above with husband Michael at Gosford Court, admitted his guilt and was fined $600 and disqualified from driving for six months
This compares with MasterChef Australia’s ‘winning’ event rating of 931,000 across five mainland capitals in 2021.
Goodwin later hosted the weekly cooking segment on the Today show and the afternoon show Nine’s Home Cooked! With Julie Goodwin, featuring celebrity guests including cricketer Steve Waugh.
She also appeared in the first season of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in 2015, has written three cookbooks, Our Family Table, Heart of the Home and Gather, and founded the cooking school, Julie’s Place.
On 12 April 2018, Central Coast residents were arrested as part of a crackdown on drunk driving by Brisbane Waters police.
Officers spotted Goodwin’s signature Mini Cooper approaching a roadside breath test on Pacific Highway in North Gosford before the vehicle made a last-minute turn and drove in the opposite direction.
Goodwin was chased and found on a nearby roadside, where he failed a breath test before being taken to Gosford Police Station.
At Gosford Local Court in May of that year, Goodwin’s attorney, Ken Stewart, pleaded guilty to one charge of drunk driving.
In a deleted social media post, the celebrity chef explained that he was on his way home from a ‘celebratory function’ he had served.
Julie Goodwin will return to MasterChef next week for the season of ‘Fans & Favorites’ with judge Andy Allen praising her and saying ‘having Julie back is the best thing about the series’
After winning MasterChef, Goodwin hosts his own TV cooking show and has written three cookbooks, Our Family Table, Heart of the Home and Gather, and founded a cooking school.
“Needless to say I accept full responsibility for the error in this judgment, which I believe is completely out of character for me,” he said.
‘Many lessons will flow from this, and I will learn from each one of them.’
Earlier this year she told Morning Show hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies that exercise, therapy and medication have helped her keep up with her mental health treatments.
“I worked hard and I did everything I had to do,” he said.
MasterChef judge Andy Allen praised Goodwin for his courage to come back, saying ‘Seeing him open up and seeing how rough and emotional he was about the past…I will never forget how powerful it was.
‘Along with the new format, having Julie back is the best thing about the series.’
Goodwin has acknowledged that cooking styles at MasterChef level have changed and contestants are better known these days for their technique-driven prowess.