Sam’s in food heaven

Sam Goodwin's experience on MasterChef was a life changer. 170715

By Justin Flynn

When you first meet Sam Goodwin it’s easy to see why Channel 10 chose him to be a contestant on MasterChef.
The 25-year-old Ocean Grover is without ego, easy going, respectful and, of course, he can cook.
Although eliminated during the show, Sam still made the top 10, but winning was never his priority.
“I never really wanted to win it,” Sam told the Voice.
“I’m not a competitive person at all, which was probably my undoing in the end.”
His undoing? An ice-cream that went wrong.
“My ice-cream went icy – I forgot to put half the sugar into it,” he said.
“There’s so much pressure. My mistake was on the wrong day.”
Sam, who was born and bred in Ocean Grove, believes the Bellarine Peninsula is an untapped wealth of food heaven.
“I get the vibe that the Bellarine could easily be very much like Margaret River,” he said.
“It has the potential to be very similar with the coastal lifestyle and a winery and cafe around every corner. The seafood – Portarlington mussels. King George whiting, flathead, calamari – Drysdale goat’s cheese, olive groves, fruit and veg and it’s a booming wine region.”
Apart from learning more about cooking than he ever thought possible, Sam said MasterChef gave him some friends for life.
“It was massive. It sounds cliched but the whole time you are there, you living and breathing food with like-minded people – you make friends for life,” he said.
“We all got along so well and that was the best part of it. The longer you’re there, the more emotionally invested you get and that makes it hard when someone leaves. I made some really good mates in that house and when they left it was actually really hard to take.”
Sam’s goal now is to continue in construction work with an aim of eventually opening his own restaurant/cafe somewhere on the Bellarine Peninsula, but preferably in Ocean Grove.
“I’ve gone back to construction part-time,” he said.
“It’s good money and it’s only three days a week and it’s flexible. I’m hoping that I can fund any business adventure with it. Opening a place somewhere here is my ultimate goal, but I don’t want to be locked away out the back of a kitchen. I want to be serving and meeting people. Ideally it would be great to be able to cook but also to engage with the customers at the same time. I do want to be involved in the kitchen, but just not stuck out the back.”
Sam sometimes gets stopped in the street by MasterChef fans, and while the thought of that would have bothered him when he was younger, he now takes it in his stride.
“It’s nice. I grew up here and I hated being the centre of attention,” he said.
“I never wanted big birthday parties or anything like that. I went on MasterChef because I wanted to cook. In the early weeks I cooked really well so I probably had a lot of the focus on me so I settled in fairly quickly with the cameras around. I grew to become pretty comfortable with it all.”
But for Sam, Ocean Grove will always be home.
“I’ve been here my whole life and I have always loved the hometown feel of Ocean Grove,” he said.
“It’s a small community, everyone knows everyone, it’s safe and relaxed and tight knit.”