MasterChef Australia Back To Win: Meet The 24 Returning Contestants
MasterChef Australia: Back To Win sees 24 former contestants head back into the kitchen for a second chance at the trophy.
While the familiar faces from the past 11 seasons have all gone on to follow their food dreams after their first round in the MasterChef kitchen, they're putting it all back on the line for one more shot.
Six runner-ups are eyeing off the trophy they so narrowly missed out on in their original seasons, joined by chefs who fought through mystery boxes, battled for immunity pins and faced some ridiculously tough elimination challenges.
But just because we know these contestants and love them doesn't mean this is going to be any easier for them. In fact, we're expecting things to be turned up a notch ... or three.
Joining our returning contestants are three brand new judges: Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and winner of MasterChef Season 4, Andy Allen.
Here are the 24 contestants for MasterChef Australia: Back To Win.
Amina Elshafei, Season 4
Placing 11th in Season 4, Amina never gave up on her dreams and published her first cookbook Amina's Home Cooking in 2015. Working as a pediatric nurse and recently giving birth to her first daughter, Aya, Amina is ready for her second chance at life in the MasterChef kitchen.
Ben Milbourne, Season 4
Here's trouble for new judge Andy Allen, his good mate Ben is back. No stranger to being onscreen with Andy, the pair not only competed against each other in Season 4, with Ben placing fifth, but they also starred in the SBS series Andy and Ben Eat Australia.
Ben also starred in his own show Ben's Menu on Network 10, Food Lab on SBS and owns and operates his own restaurant CharlotteJack in Devonport, Tasmania.
Ben Ungermann, Season 9
The Ice Cream King was the runner-up in 2017's Season 9, losing out on the top prize by just a single point. The very next year Ben went on to open Ungermann Brothers Ice Cream Parlour with his brother Danny. Late last year the Ungermann brothers opened their second parlour on the Gold Coast.
Brendan Pang, Season 10
Brendan was a fan-fave in Season 10, although he placed 9th, so MasterChef viewers were thrilled to see him win his way back into the competition briefly for a second shot.
Despite a brutal cut to his hand during Nigella week, Brendan powered on and is back in the kitchen ready to avoid elimination for the third time. Since his MasterChef days, Brendan went straight into opening Bumplings, his pop-up dumpling kitchen. He had a residency at London's Dumpling's Legend and is releasing his first cookbook, This Is A Book About Dumplings, in May.
Callum Hann, Season 2
Taking the coveted second-place spot a decade ago, Callum spent the last few years building his Sprout empire, beginning with his Cooking School and later opening Sprout Health Studio, Sprout Catering, Sprout Training and Dietary Hawk.
He's published three cookbooks and most recently welcomed his first child, baby Elle, with wife Crystal Jagger. Callum is also hoping to recreate his victory in 2012's MasterChef: All-Stars where he took out the top spot alongside some other returning contestants.
Chris Badenoch, Season 1
The fedora-wearing, meat-loving Chris may have placed third in the very first season of MasterChef Australia, but it also introduced him to fellow contestant Julia Jenkins, who he's now married to.
Chris is back -- not looking for love, but looking to showcase his expertise when it comes to nose-to-tail cooking. We're also crossing our fingers that the "beeramisu" makes a comeback.
Courtney Roulston, Season 2
Another of Andy's mates, Courtney starred alongside the judge on Network 10's Farm to Fork with another MasterChef alum, Michael Weldon.
Placing fifth during the second season, Courtney has worked for the Sydney Swans as the team chef for 10 years, written two books -- The Salad Kitchen and Salads in a Jar. With years of working in the industry, Courtney is ready to dive back behind the workbench and tackle any challenge that comes her way.
Dani Venn, Season 3
Just narrowly missing out on the top three in Season 3, Dani used her fourth-place victory to launch The Wholehearted Cook, as well as launching Eat It Up Creative.
Dani has hosted her own TV series, Weekend Feast and also hosted breakfast radio in Melbourne. With a focus on whole foods, fresh ingredients and balanced cooking, Dani will be hoping to impress the judges wholeheartedly.
Emelia Jackson, Season 6
Emelia has some unfinished business with the MasterChef kitchen. Narrowly missing out on competing in the Season 6 grand final due to a great (but not "perfect") dessert, the 'queen of cakes' went on to launch her own business creating incredible bespoke cakes, macarons, cookies, doughnuts ... Hopefully, the judges have a sweet tooth.
Harry Foster, Season 8
You could say Harry is fishing for that top spot -- because he loves seafood. With a focus on sustainable and fishing, Harry's time in the MasterChef kitchen only strengthened his love for Australia's oceanic offerings.
After a brief stint in Tasmania where he -- among other things -- co-founded a distillery, Harry is back in Queensland. After narrowly missing out on the grand final of Season 8, the sovereign of seafood is hoping this time to make it all the way to the top.
Hayden Quinn, Season 3
After placing sixth in Season 3, Hayden dove from lifeguard straight into the waters of the food industry. Since his time on MasterChef, he's hosted a handful of shows including Hayden Quinn South Africa, Surfing the Menu Next Generation and most recently Taste of Australia which just premiered on Network 10.
An author of two cookbooks, the others in the kitchen will also have to watch out as Hayden holds the coveted title of Cleo Bachelor of the Year 2012.
Jess Liemantara, Season 10
During her time competing in Season 10, Jess was only 19-years-old, making her one of the youngest in the show's history. Making it to fourth place, Jess once again takes the title of this year's youngest returning competitor.
Despite her youth, Jess isn't playing games when it comes to sweet treats. Her desserts blew the judges away and in 2019 she released her first cookbook A Zest of Jess featuring 24 of her incredible desserts.
Khanh Ong, Season 10
Khanh narrowly missed out on the grand finale in season 10. Since leaving the series the writer, presenter, cook and DJ signed a book deal, co-hosted My Market Kitchen alongside Elena Duggan, and became a business partner at Melbourne's The George on Collins. Busy as ever, Khanh is back to take out that MasterChef trophy once and for all.
Laura Sharrad, Season 6
Another of our runner-ups returning for another attempt at the top spot, Laura has spent the years post-MasterChef completely ensconced in the food world.
Now a partner of Adelaide's Nido Pasta Bar alongside husband Max Sharrad -- a familiar face from last year's immunity challenge. That's not the only connection to the MasterChef kitchen Laura's got in her bag of tricks, having worked at Orana -- judge Jock Zonfrillo's restaurant.
Lynton Tapp, Season 5
Joining the band of runner-ups looking for redemption, Lynton is probably hoping to avoid any of Ben Shewry's creations after Lynton was tasked with recreating his Plight of the Bees back in Season 5.
Since then, he's published a cookbook, hosted A Taste of Travel and co-hosted My Market Kitchen alongside Emma Dean, the winner of his season. Lynton has also opened a cafe and wine bar in Melbourne, Westwood, with his brother-in-law.
Poh Ling Yeow, Season 1
Artist, presenter, chef and the very first MasterChef runner-up, Poh is back to claim the title that eluded her so many seasons ago. Since her original time in the MasterChef kitchen, Poh has hosted a handful of shows, written three cookbooks and launched Jamface at the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market -- with a Jamface opening at Adelaide Airport's expanded terminal this year.
Poh got to flex her MasterChef muscles most recently, appearing as a mentor throughout the most recent season alongside Billie McKay and Matt Sinclair.
Reece Hignell, Season 10
Though a confident king of sweets -- and now a bonafide cake creator -- throughout his time in the MasterChef kitchen, Reece found more confidence when it came to savoury cooking. Reece also made some incredible friendships during his first time in the kitchen, fighting it out in one of Season 10's most emotional cooks alongside fellow Audrey, Jess Liemantara.
Reynold Poernomo, Season 7
Basically the Heston Blumenthal of MasterChef Australia, after his time in the kitchen, Reynold went on to become a mad scientist of dessert. Opening his highly successful KOI Dessert Bar in 2016, the culinary inventor went on to open three more establishments; KOI Dessert Kitchen, Monkey's Corner and TiNi Artisan Bakehouse.
Though he narrowly missed making it to the top three in his original season, Reynold has since been named a grand finalist in the Gault&Millau Pastry Chef of the Year awards in 2017. The same year he also returned to the MasterChef kitchen to face off against Callan Smith in an immunity challenge.
Rose Adam, Season 7
Placing 10th in Season 7, Rose left the MasterChef kitchen and pursued her dream to open The Middle Store, her family-run Adelaide cafe that specialises in home-style Middle Eastern food.
Knowing a little bit about pressure, during her original season Rose faced eight consecutive elimination challenges, so she knows what it takes to survive and is hoping to take that all the way to the end of the competition.
Sarah Clare, Season 10
During her time in the MasterChef kitchen back in Season 10, the always stylish Sarah came to appreciate sustainability and eating fresh, local ingredients. She returned to Tasmania where she now runs her own restaurant, ILHA in Cygnet, south of Hobart.
Sarah Tiong, Season 9
When Sarah originally entered the MasterChef kitchen she was up for a promotion opportunity at the law firm she was working at. Still, the passionate chef impressed the judges and became a fan favourite, placing sixth in Season 9.
Now, working part-time as a lawyer and balancing her time with her pop-up hawker stall, catering, masterclasses and events, Sarah is back and ready to impress a whole new batch of judges.
Simon Toohey, Season 11
The King of Cauliflower is back. Having just competed in Season 11 and making it all the way to third place, Simon is grabbing his apron -- and probably a swathe of veggies -- to bring his ethos of sustainable and inventive cooking with produce.
Though it raised a few eyebrows, after his time on MasterChef, Simon was able to open his vegan smokehouse, once again displaying his unique approaches to cooking with veg. Having just launched the Sustainable Earth Network, which focuses on his whole-ingredient philosophy and battle against food waste, Simon is hoping to bring his enthusiasm for sustainability and make it all the way to the grand finale.
Tessa Boersma, Season 11
Standing next to Simon is his fellow Season 11 top three chef Tessa, last year's runner-up.
Though it's only been a hot minute since Tessa was competing in a grand finale, she's ready to do it all again after spending the last few months writing recipes and working at Brisbane's ARC Dining.
Tracy Collins, Season 6
Coming in fifth during Season 6, Tracy left the MasterChef kitchen and began working closely with none other than Jock Zonfrillo in his Orana and StreetADL restaurants.
She later started Harvest Kitchen in her home of the Barossa which, in 2016, was awarded best regional restaurant in South Australia. Tracy has since taken a step back from the culinary world, focusing on her family, however, she's back and ready to tackle the challenges MasterChef: Back To Win has in store for her.