MasterChef Australia Season 12: Where Are The Contestants Now?

Delving into the vibrant world of Network 10’s ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win,’ we uncovered a tapestry of culinary brilliance and entrepreneurial spirit. Premiered in April 2020, the contestants of the twelfth season featured many interesting personalities who managed to win the hearts of the judges as well as the public. From dazzling dessert maestros to innovative fusion pioneers, each contestant has forged their path since gracing our screens. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the diverse endeavors and achievements of these culinary virtuosos beyond the ‘MasterChef’ kitchen.

Emelia Jackson is a Cake Designer Today

Emelia Jackson, the culinary sensation who first graced our screens in season 6 of ‘MasterChef Australia,’ made a triumphant return in season 12, emerging as the victor and setting the stage for a captivating journey ahead. Beyond her initial win, she showcased her expertise as a guest judge in subsequent seasons, solidifying her standing as a revered authority in the culinary domain. In 2022, Emelia unveiled her culinary wisdom and recipes to the world through her book, ‘First, Cream the Butter and Sugar.’

Her professional journey also led her to diverse roles, including Community Manager at Peter Jackson Australia and contributing to various esteemed platforms such as ‘The Great Food Show’ and Good Food Australia. Emelia’s entrepreneurial spirit flourished with the launch of Emelia Jackson Cake Designs, adding a creative flair to her culinary ventures. On a personal note, She is happily married to Craig, and her family expanded with the arrival of her daughter Addie in 2021, followed by the birth of her son, Mac, in 2023, bringing joy and fulfillment to her life journey.

Laura Sharrad is Expecting a Baby in 2024

Laura Sharrad, formerly known as Laura Cassai, showcased her unwavering culinary prowess once more in ‘MasterChef Australia’ season 12, clinching the runner-up position for the second time. Undeterred by this outcome, she continued her culinary odyssey into season 13, where she emerged as a guest for a masterclass, highlighting her evolution and expertise in the culinary realm. Beyond the ‘MasterChef’ stage, Laura secured a prestigious role as a Junior Chef at Jock Zonfrillo’s acclaimed Restaurant Orana in Adelaide, where she further refined her culinary skills under the tutelage of a renowned chef. Her culinary influence extended beyond the restaurant as she collaborated with San Remo Pasta, endorsing their brands and contributing to community initiatives such as Kitchen Garden Programs in local schools.

Diversifying her career, she embraced the role of host on ‘My Market Kitchen,’ sharing her culinary wisdom with a wider audience. Laura’s commitment to philanthropy shone through as she became an Ambassador for the Starlight Foundation Australia, championing charitable causes. In a heartwarming personal development, Laura found love with Max Sharrad, whom she met during her tenure at Restaurant Orana, leading to their marriage in 2018 and the joint venture of their restaurant, Nido, in 2019. Amid personal joys and challenges, she shared her experience of miscarriage in 2023 before announcing her pregnancy joyfully in October 2023, adding a poignant layer to her culinary and personal journey.

Reynold Poernomo Offers an Exclusive 12-seater Chef’s Table Dining Experience

Reynold Poernomo, a culinary dynamo who first dazzled audiences in season 7 of ‘MasterChef Australia,’ continued to make waves internationally with his boundless creativity. After showcasing his skills and securing the third position in season 12, he expanded his horizons by gracing the judging panel of ‘MasterChef Indonesia’ season 5 and competing in the ‘Dessert Masters’ spin-off series, where he clinched the runner-up title. Despite his triumphs, he surprised fans in November 2023 with his decision to relocate to a place where he feels more valued, leaving behind any possibility of returning to the show.

Beyond his kitchen conquests, Reynold, alongside his family, established KOI Dessert Bar in 2016, which later evolved into KOI Dessert and Kitchen and Monkey’s Corner, solidifying his presence in the culinary scene. His entrepreneurial ventures didn’t stop there; he collaborated with prominent brands, delivered inspiring TedX talks, and earned prestigious accolades, such as being a finalist for Best Pastry Chef by Gault & Millau and making Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 list in 2017. In 2022, Reynold unveiled his venture, KOI Experiential, offering an exclusive 12-seater chef’s table dining experience.

Callum Hann is Now an Author

Callum Hann, an original contender from season 2 of ‘MasterChef Australia,’ found himself immersed in Melbourne’s culinary tapestry post-show. He swiftly integrated into George Calombaris’ restaurant empire, showcasing his culinary finesse, a journey he revisited in season 12. Expanding his culinary footprint, Callum assumed a board position with Brand South Australia. Beyond the confines of the kitchen, he emerged as a prolific author, penning cookbooks such as ‘The Starter Kitchen,’ ‘I’d Devour That!,’ and co-authoring ‘Rapid. Simple. Health.’ Diversifying his culinary repertoire, he conducted culinary workshops at prestigious venues like The Press Club, Maha, Hellenic Republic, and PM24.

A staunch advocate for culinary education, Callum embarked on university tours, imparting the art of cooking and emphasizing the importance of balanced nutrition to eager students. His entrepreneurial spirit flourished in South Australia, manifesting in ventures like Sprout Cooking School, Sprout Health Studio, Sprout Training, and Dietary Hawk. Venturing into the hospitality sector, he lent his expertise to establishments like Lou’s Place in the Barossa Valley, Eleven Bar and Restaurant, and Olive Restaurant in Adelaide. He lives in Adelaide with his wife, Crystal, and two kids.

Reece Hignell Co-Owns at Acacia Dining

Reece Hignell, a standout contestant from season 10 of ‘MasterChef Australia,’ has embarked on a journey brimming with culinary ingenuity and entrepreneurial zeal since his television debut. Renowned for his inventive culinary creations, Reece has dabbled in diverse ventures post-show, from collaborating with brands to launching his very own confectionery and bakery enterprise, Cakeboi.

Embracing the ethos of innovation, Reece is set to revolutionize the culinary landscape once again with the forthcoming release of his latest book, ‘Cakeboi Goes Vegan,’ catering to the burgeoning demand for plant-based baking. His enterprising spirit takes center stage as he takes on a new role as a co-owner of Acacia Dining, a venture he joined in November 2023.

Poh Ling Yeow is a Professional Artist Today

Poh Ling Yeow, a culinary trailblazer since her debut in the inaugural season of ‘MasterChef Australia’ in 2009, has left an indelible mark on the culinary landscape over the years. From her initial appearance on the show to her recent guest judging stint in 2023’s season 15, Poh has remained a constant presence, evolving from contestant to mentor and beyond. As an accomplished cookbook author, she has penned four culinary masterpieces, sharing her diverse recipes and culinary insights with the world.

She ventures into reality television, including a memorable stint on ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ in 2022, showcasing her versatility beyond the kitchen. Adding to her repertoire, Poh unveiled ‘Art by Poh’ in 2023, an online platform showcasing her vibrant artwork. Amid personal changes, including her divorce from former husband Matt Phipps in 2021, Poh finds solace and companionship in her beloved dog, Timmy, as she continues to explore new culinary and creative horizons.

Tessa Boersma is a Chef at The Fromage Bar

Tessa, renowned for her standout performance in season 11, has evolved into a multifaceted culinary maven. She has seamlessly blended her roles as a cook, presenter, Recipe Creator, educator, and avid travel enthusiast. Her culinary journey finds a home at The Fromage Bar, where she dazzles patrons with her culinary creations, all while maintaining her passion for exploration with Travello. In a heartwarming turn of events, Tessa announced her engagement to longtime beau Eliot Nelson in 2022, marking a new chapter of joy in her life journey.

Brendan Pang is an Established Cookbook Author Today

Meanwhile, Brendan Pang, a familiar face from season 10, has blossomed into a culinary entrepreneur extraordinaire. As the visionary behind Bumplings Perth, he has expanded his culinary empire, penning two acclaimed books — ‘This Book Is About Noodles’ and ‘This Book Is About Dumplings.’ Brendan’s dedication to his craft extends to his online platform, where he promotes his business and shares his culinary expertise through recipes and more.

Embracing innovation, he has ventured into the realm of frozen dumplings, captivating audiences with his delectable creations. Brendan’s community engagement shines through his presence at market stalls, cooking classes, and workshops, with plans for further expansion and the tantalizing promise of a third book on the horizon.

Khanh Ong Has His Own Cooking Series

In the realm of culinary stardom, Khanh Ong has etched an unforgettable journey. Beyond the confines of ‘MasterChef,’ Khanh’s ventures expanded into the realm of television with his series, ‘Khanh Ong’s Wild Food,’ where he fearlessly explored exotic flavors and showcased his culinary finesse. His television appearances have been a testament to his versatility, from entertaining on shows like ‘Spicks and Specks’ to demonstrating resilience on ‘Australian Survivor.’

Delving deeper into the entertainment world, he co-hosted the podcast ‘Feast Pod,’ offering a delectable blend of recipes, anecdotes, and dating advice alongside entrepreneur Sarah Davidson. In the restaurant industry, his influence continues to flourish as a part owner of The George on Collins, enriching Melbourne’s culinary landscape with his unique flair and expertise.

Sarah Tiong Has Found The Love of Her Life

From the culinary battleground of ‘MasterChef Australia’ season 9 emerged Sarah Tiong, the culinary mastermind behind the acclaimed Pork Party street food stall. Transitioning into the restaurant scene, she now co-owns and helms the kitchen at Ogni Restaurant as its executive chef, continuing to tantalize taste buds with her innovative creations. Sarah’s literary pursuits have seen her penning two cookbooks, ‘Sweet Savory Spicy’ and ‘Modern Asian,’ while her digital presence remains vibrant as a content creator on Instagram.

Despite her YouTube channel lying dormant, Sarah’s culinary passion burns bright as she balances her culinary endeavors with a legal contractor role at Allens. Alongside her professional achievements, Sarah finds fulfillment in her personal life, having found love with Aya, adding a touch of sweetness to her culinary journey.

Simon Toohey Believes in Sustainable Cooking Practices 

Renowned for his appearance on ‘MasterChef Australia’ season 11, Simon Toohey has emerged as a culinary luminary. Steering the ship as the National Brand Ambassador of Mr Black Spirits since 2017, Simon has been at the forefront of promoting culinary innovation and sustainability. His culinary ventures extend beyond television, with his hosting gig on ‘Freshly Picked’ showcasing his passion for fresh, sustainable ingredients. A pioneer in sustainable cooking practices, Simon’s culinary philosophy is evident in his successful pop-up vegan smokehouse in Melbourne, which embodies his commitment to ethical dining.

Additionally, he co-founded the Sustainable Earth Network (SEN), furthering his dedication to environmental conservation. Through platforms like his YouTube series and appearances on ‘The Food Fight’ Podcast, Simon advocates for sustainable cooking and educates audiences on closed-loop cooking, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to a greener culinary future.

Jess Liemantara Published Her First Cookbook

In the dynamic culinary realm, Jess Liemantara stands as a beacon of pastry artistry, captivating audiences with her exquisite creations. Initially appearing in season 10, her talent truly flourished in season 12. Her journey expanded beyond the kitchen as she showcased her skills at the Raffles Hotel in Jakarta, leaving a lasting impression as a pastry virtuoso. She introduced the delectable Jess Lemon range, while also gracing various catering events as a guest chef. Jess’ culinary prowess earned her accolades, including a commendable third place in the Dessert Masters spin-off season, solidifying her reputation as a pastry maestro.

In addition to her culinary ventures, Jess published her first cookbook, ‘A Zest of Jess,’ enriching her culinary journey and inspiring fellow enthusiasts. On a personal note, her relationship with Nick Chen adds sweetness to her already delightful life, infusing her culinary endeavors with joy and warmth.

Tracy Collins Launched a Harvest Kitchen

Tracy Collins, a culinary luminary with a penchant for innovation, has etched her mark in the culinary world since her appearance in season 6 and her subsequent return in season 12. Her journey encompasses not only gastronomic excellence but also a deep understanding of psychology, neuroscience, and yoga, enriching her culinary endeavors with depth and mindfulness.

From the launch of Harvest Kitchen, which earned her the prestigious Best Regional Restaurant award, to managing The Loft at Barossa Valley, her commitment to culinary excellence knows no bounds. Through her website, she shares her expertise with a wider audience by offering recipes and cooking demonstrations that reflect her culinary philosophy. Tracy’s role as a mother to her daughter, Finella, adds another layer of fulfillment to her journey.

Sarah Clare Launched Pop-Ups Called Wild

Sarah Clare’s culinary odyssey has been a testament to innovation and resilience, spanning from her debut in season 10 to her triumphant return in season 12. After honing her skills at Fat Pig Farm, Sarah embarked on a journey of culinary exploration, launching pop-ups called Wild to celebrate local ingredients and showcase her inventive flair. Although she closed the doors to her Tasmanian restaurant, Ilha, she remains undeterred. She is now embracing new culinary adventures and collaborations while venturing into wine tasting. In her personal life, Sarah finds joy in her marriage to husband Dan and her role as a mother to son Elvis.

Hayden Quinn Contributed to Cookbooks

Hayden Quinn, the surfer turned culinary impresario, has navigated the culinary landscape with finesse and flair. From his initial foray into season 3 to his diverse ventures, including hosting ‘Taste of Australia’ and serving as a guest judge, Hayden’s journey embodies adventure and creativity. His literary contributions with cookbooks like ‘Dish It Up’ and ‘Surfing the Menu’ showcase his culinary expertise, while his involvement in ventures like Studio Maybe and The Cube Gym reflects his entrepreneurial spirit. Hayden’s recent marriage to American model Jax Raynor adds a new chapter of joy and companionship to his journey.

Ben Ungermann Has a Documentary Made on Himself

In the realm of culinary stars, Ben Ungermann’s journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Rising to fame as the runner-up of season 9, he encountered turbulent waters after his return in season 12, facing legal challenges that threatened to overshadow his culinary prowess. Despite the storm, Ungermann navigated through murky waters, finding solace in his dedication to fitness and culinary innovation. Collaborating with esteemed establishments like The Maslow and venturing into restaurant ownership, Ungermann left an indelible mark on the global gastronomic landscape.

His recent endeavor, Ben’s Italian, in Cape Town, South Africa, is a testament to his unwavering commitment to culinary excellence. Alongside his culinary conquests, he unveiled the ‘Ben Ungermann Tell All Documentary,’ offering a candid glimpse into his tumultuous journey, resilience, and quest for redemption.

Amina Elshafei Has Returned to Her Profession as a Nurse

On the flip side of culinary fame, Amina Elshafei’s journey embodies resilience and dedication. Returning to the ‘MasterChef Australia’ stage in 2020, she embarked on a path paved with culinary innovation and family values. Balancing her culinary pursuits with a return to her role as a pediatric nurse in New South Wales, she exemplifies inner harmony. With her Lebanese husband by her side and two young children, Aya and Zayd, her journey epitomizes the essence of culinary excellence intertwined with steadfast commitment to family and community.

Chris Badenoch Ventured Into The Realm of Brewing

Chris Badenoch, a culinary maverick, has weathered storms and soared to great heights in his culinary odyssey. Initially thrust into the limelight during season 1, he emerged resilient, channeling his passion into culinary creations. From establishing Josie Bones, a celebrated restaurant in Melbourne, to venturing into the realm of brewing with Boneyard Brewing, Badenoch’s entrepreneurial spirit knows no bounds.

Beyond the kitchen, his artistic inclinations found expression through design and illustration, drawing inspiration from Surrealism and Baroque painters. In a personal triumph, Badenoch defied skeptics, marrying fellow ‘MasterChef’ contestant Julia, showcasing resilience and love triumphing over scrutiny. Their enduring love story, accompanied by their loyal companion Sebastian, serves as a testament to perseverance and passion in the face of adversity.

Rose Adam Owns The Middle Store

Rose Adam’s journey in the culinary world is a testament to resilience, innovation, and unwavering passion. Returning to ‘MasterChef Australia: Back to Win’ in 2020, she embarked on a journey marked by culinary prowess and personal triumphs. The proud owner of The Middle Store, a bustling Breakfast & Brunch Restaurant, Rose’s culinary creations resonate with flavor and heart. Despite losing her brother, George Adam, Rose remains a beacon of inspiration in the culinary scene.

She often collaborates with chefs, conducts cooking demos, and shares her culinary expertise on social media platforms. With plans to publish her first cookbook and a regular spot on ‘Studio 10’ until 2023, Rose Adam’s journey is a testament to resilience, innovation, and unwavering dedication to her craft.

Dani Venn Runs a Podcast Today

Embarking on a globetrotting culinary adventure, Dani Venn, renowned for her standout performance in season 3 of ‘MasterChef Australia,’ has carved a unique path in the culinary world. From hosting exotic foodie retreats in Bali and Sri Lanka to showcasing her culinary flair at events across the globe, Dani’s journey is a testament to culinary innovation and exploration. In addition to her culinary escapades, Dani ventured into the world of podcasting with ‘Falling For You,’ where she delves into inspiring stories of life-changing experiences.

With appearances on shows like ‘Everyday Gourmet’ and ‘Farm to Fork,’ Dani continues to captivate audiences with her culinary prowess and infectious energy. Despite facing personal challenges in 2020, including financial setbacks and separation from her husband, Dani’s resilience and passion for food remain unwavering, driving her forward on her culinary odyssey.

Harry Foster Now Calls Himself a Master Explorer 

Harry Foster, runner-up of season 8, has transitioned from the culinary realm to the digital frontier, embarking on a journey of exploration and adventure. Embracing his role as a self-proclaimed Master Explorer, Harry has immersed himself in photography and digital creation, capturing the untamed beauty of the wilderness. Through his platform, Off the Beaten Coast, Harry shares his love for exploration, adventure, and food, inspiring others to embark on their journeys of discovery.

Ben Milbourne is Now a Company Director 

Ben Milbourne’s culinary journey has evolved from the ‘MasterChef’ kitchen to the helm of culinary innovation and entrepreneurship. After his stint on the show, Ben’s culinary prowess found expression through teaching and eventually as a company director at Cultivate Productions. Embracing his passion for Mexican and seafood cooking, Ben flourished as the Owner and Director of Food By Ben & One Degree, showcasing his culinary expertise through cookbooks and media appearances. With a thriving family life with his wife Sally and their two children, Ben’s journey is a testament to resilience, passion, and the enduring power of family.

Courtney Roulston Runs a Catering Business

Courtney Roulston’s culinary journey is a testament to perseverance and passion. From establishing a thriving catering business to representing Coles as an ambassador, Courtney’s culinary prowess extends beyond the kitchen. She is also dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights and continues to inspire others through her culinary creations.

Lynton Tapp is a Senior Producer Today

Lynton Tapp’s culinary journey transcends the boundaries of the kitchen, encompassing a diverse array of creative and entrepreneurial pursuits. From his role as a Senior Producer at R/GA Australia to his ambassadorship for Foodbank Victoria, Lynton’s impact extends far beyond the culinary sphere.

Read More: Masterchef Australia Season 9: Where Are The Contestants Now?