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Popular MasterChef Australia inaugural winner Julie Goodwin sent shockwaves through the showbiz world four years ago when she was charged with drink-driving twice over the legal limit.

The much loved champion, who returns to the show’s ‘Fans & Favourites’ season on April 18, was caught after trying to evade a police breath test.

After fronting up at court with her husband and acknowledging it was ‘an error in judgment’ and  ‘accepting full responsibility’, Goodwin was fined $600 and disqualified from driving for six months.

The 50-year-old chef has since revealed her harrowing battle with depression, in 2020, and earlier this year when she said she had spent a five-week stay in a mental health facility.

The revelation in February this years came 13 years after Goodwin beat runner-up Poh Ling Yeow with her hearty home recipes in 2009.

The two top contenders’ friendly rivalry and Goodwin’s grace in victory sent ratings – and the series final in particular – through the roof, with the ‘winner announced’ show rating more than 3.7 million.

Julie Goodwin winning MasterChef Australia's inaugural series in 2009, with runner-up Poh Ling Yeow. The final show's ratings attracting over 3.7million viewers

Julie Goodwin winning MasterChef Australia's inaugural series in 2009, with runner-up Poh Ling Yeow. The final show's ratings attracting over 3.7million viewers

Julie Goodwin winning MasterChef Australia’s inaugural series in 2009, with runner-up Poh Ling Yeow. The final show’s ratings attracting over 3.7million viewers

Julie Goodwin (above) arriving at Gosford Local Court in 2018 after she tested 0.107 during a crackdown on drink driving by Brisbane Waters Police following an event she had catered for

Julie Goodwin (above) arriving at Gosford Local Court in 2018 after she tested 0.107 during a crackdown on drink driving by Brisbane Waters Police following an event she had catered for

Julie Goodwin (above) arriving at Gosford Local Court in 2018 after she tested 0.107 during a crackdown on drink driving by Brisbane Waters Police following an event she had catered for

Goodwin, above with her husband Michael at Gosford Court, acknowledged her mistake and was fined $600 and disqualified from driving for six months

Goodwin, above with her husband Michael at Gosford Court, acknowledged her mistake and was fined $600 and disqualified from driving for six months

Goodwin, above with her husband Michael at Gosford Court, acknowledged her mistake and was fined $600 and disqualified from driving for six months

This compares with MasterChef Australia’s ‘winner’ show rating 931,000 in the five mainland capital cities in 2021.

Goodwin went on to host a weekly cooking segment on the Today show and Nine’s afternoon show 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 set up a cooking school, Julie’s Place.

On April 12, 2018, the Central Coast resident was arrested as part of a crackdown on drink driving by Brisbane Waters police.

Officers noticed Goodwin’s distinctive Mini Cooper approaching the roadside breath test on the Pacific Highway at North Gosford before the vehicle pulled a last minute U-turn and drove off in the opposite direction.

Goodwin was pursued and located in a nearby side street, where she failed a breath test before being taken to Gosford Police Station.

At Gosford Local Court in May that year, Goodwin’s solicitor Ken Stewart entered a guilty plea to one count of mid-range drink-driving.

In a since deleted social media post, the celebrity chef explained she had been driving home from a ‘celebratory function’ that she had catered for.

Julie Goodwin is returning to MasterChef next week for the 'Fans & Favourites' season with judge Andy Allen praising her and saying 'having Julie back is the best thing about this series'

Julie Goodwin is returning to MasterChef next week for the 'Fans & Favourites' season with judge Andy Allen praising her and saying 'having Julie back is the best thing about this series'

Julie Goodwin is returning to MasterChef next week for the ‘Fans & Favourites’ season with judge Andy Allen praising her and saying ‘having Julie back is the best thing about this series’

After winning MasterChef, Goodwin hosted her own TV cooking show and has written three cookbooks, Our Family Table, Heart of the Home and Gather, and set up a cooking school

After winning MasterChef, Goodwin hosted her own TV cooking show and has written three cookbooks, Our Family Table, Heart of the Home and Gather, and set up a cooking school

After winning MasterChef, Goodwin hosted her own TV cooking show and has written three cookbooks, Our Family Table, Heart of the Home and Gather, and set up a cooking school

“Needless to say I accept full responsibility for this error in judgment, which I believe is completely out of character for me,’ she said.

‘Many lessons will flow from this, and I will learn from each of them.’

Earlier this year she told Morning Show hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies that exercise, therapy and medication had helped her following her mental health stay.

‘I’m working hard and I’m doing all the things I have got to do,’ she said.

MasterChef judge Andy Allen praised Goodwin for her courage to return, saying ‘To see her open up and to see how raw and emotional she is about the past… I’ll never forget how powerful it was.

‘Along with the new format, having Julie back is the best thing about this series.’

Goodwin has acknowledged that cooking styles at MasterChef level have changed and contestants are better known these days for their technique-driven finesse.         

Source: DailyMail

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