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Chef extraordinaire

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Chef extraordinaire

Julie Goodwin went from home cook to MasterChef winner but her new autobiography talks frankly of the mental illness simmering within.

Beloved Australian MasterChef winner and best-selling author Julie Goodwin will talk about her new autobiography, Your Time Starts Now – a candid, deeply moving memoir at a not-to-be-missed event later this month. Goodwin writes with brutal honesty about food, fame, failure and freedom. She caught up with Ingrid Nelson ahead of the event.

What can people expect in this autobiography? – It’s a life story, really. I do talk about MasterChef and a bit of behind-the-scenes stuff, but a big part of it is also about being diagnosed with a mental illness, how that presented itself to me and what I’m doing now. It’s a lot.

What prompted you to write it? – When I first spoke out about being unwell, I got such a response to that. The number of people who contacted me and just said: “Thank you. I’ve been suffering for decades and I haven’t known how to tell anyone or how to ask for help”. If the reason I went through something so dreadful is so I could talk about it and help someone before they go down to the bottom of the well, then that serves a purpose.

Was it difficult to open up about it to begin with? – Yes, because when you do have an outwardly successful life, people view you as being lucky. It adds another layer of guilt to say I’m struggling. It leads to a knee-jerk reaction from people – what does she have to struggle about? I’ve never wanted to appear ungrateful or complain, but part of my learning over the years is that it’s not about being ungrateful or complaining: it’s an illness.

What is your biggest achievement – My kids. I have three grown sons and a three-year-old granddaughter, Delilah. She is the light of our lives. She is divine.

Where did your love of food/cooking come from? – It came from a love of eating, actually. I wanted to eat nice food and we had no money. So, I had to work out
how to make nice food and it became a proper obsession.

When did start you think you had a chance of winning MasterChef? – From the first minute, I thought: “What have I got myself into?” Many of the other contestants were well-travelled people who knew all the chefs and had been to all of the beautiful restaurants. I had just been here on the NSW Central Coast, cooking for my family. But then I thought, those same people were doing that instead of standing at the stove. I had stood at the stove every night for a couple of decades.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learned throughout your incredible journey? – Embrace where you are now. I once heard someone say: “Be where your feet are”. You can spend your life worrying about what’s happened and what is going to happen and none of it makes any difference. All it does is make you feel bad.

What can audiences expect at the Sunshine Coast event? – Nothing will be off the table. I love to take questions from the audience and I will answer in all honesty. You can also expect some funny stories.

Meet Julie Goodwin at The Events Centre Caloundra on Tuesday, April 30. Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start. Book through library.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au or theeventscentre.com.au.

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