Former MasterChef contestant Ben Ungermann avoids conviction for assault on teen girl

A former MasterChef contestant who plied a teenage girl with alcohol before grabbing her on a hotel bed has avoided jail, and instead been ordered to make a donation to charity and apologise to the girl.

In the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today, Ben Ungermann admitted to the lesser charge of common law assault against the 16-year-old girl after prosecutors dropped three sex assault charges.

The chef was placed on the court’s diversion program, which allows low-level offenders to avoid a criminal record.

No finding of guilt was made against him.

The girl, who cannot be named because she is a child, was denied an opportunity to make a statement to the court because her comments were inconsistent with the facts that were part of the plea deal.

Magistrate Mia Stylianou ordered Mr Ungermann to make a $1,000 donation to the White Ribbon Foundation, get counselling and write a letter of apology.

She told the court that the teenager had told police that the outcome of the proceedings was “acceptable”.

“I have determined to give you the opportunity of diversion which means that there will be no recording of a conviction and no finding of guilt, but there is an admission of responsibility and acceptance of the charge before the court,” the magistrate said.

“I accept everything that’s been put on your behalf, the impact that these proceedings have had on you, the extra-curial punishment, the loss to your reputation and everything that has followed,” she said.

Outside court, his friend and fellow MasterChef contestant, Ben Bullock, who is also a lawyer, claimed victory.

“Benny’s been dealing with these charges now for more than 12 months. So we welcome the withdrawal of the sexual assault charges, which have been denied the whole time,” Mr Bullock said.

“We also welcome the opportunity for Benny to clear his name. It’s really just about him going forward now,” he said.

In February last year, the court heard that Mr Ungermann had dinner with the girl and plied her with alcohol, telling her that he “was going to get shitfaced”.

The pair then returned to a hotel where he now admits to common law assault.

Victoria Police prosecutor Sergeant Peter Murphy told the court that the incident started when Mr Ungermann tried to encourage the girl to hug him “without success”.

“The accused has then placed his hand under her armpit and across her right breast, over her clothing, and pulled her down onto his chest. His hand remained for approximately two seconds,” the sergeant said.

“[She] has pulled away from the accused … left the bedroom in a visibly distressed state.”

The father-of-three was arrested about two weeks later at a hotel where he was staying with the other MasterChef contestants.

Once he was charged, he was given an hour the following day to pack his things and leave.

The court heard police supported plans to put the 37-year-old on a diversion program.

His barrister, Abbie Roodenburg, told the court that Mr Ungermann was willing to accept responsibility for the charge.

“Mr Ungermann”s position has always been that he didn’t have any intention, there was no deliberate act,” she said.

But she took aim at the way her client was treated by police during his arrest.

“He was in the middle of filming the MasterChef show, and staying at the hotel room … and two plain-clothes detectives and two police in tactical gear arrived at his door,” she said.

“It was an incredibly shocking experience for him. He recalls being told that he was under arrest for sexual assault but certainly not who it was in relation to.”

The court heard Ungermann lost his sponsorship deals, had a heart attack and had been unable to work since being charged.

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MasterChef Dan causes extreme panic during Tuesday’s pressure test

Things aren’t looking great for MasterChef contestant Dan during Tuesday night’s pressure test elimination.

Dan and his teammates Therese and Justin were unfortunately thrown into the pressure test after failing the group challenge on Monday night’s episode, along with Brent who was automatically in the elimination after being in quarantine for the past week.

The team failed the first challenge of ‘Masters Week’, not executing their pasta to perfection for the ‘master of pasta’, Andreas Papadakis.

Tuesday night’s episode is all about chocolate, with ‘master chocolatier’ Kirsten Tibballs setting the extremely hard task.

During a clip shared exclusively with, it looks like Dan might not make it through the challenge at all when his chocolate balls continue to fall off their sticks and into an absolute mess on the kitchen counter.

RELATED: Disaster strikes in MasterChef kitchen

Dan is tasked with dipping his chocolate spheres into a marbled pattern of melted chocolate, in an effort to get a swirl-like texture on the ball.

However, the balls must be stuck upside down on a plastic piece of equipment to dry.

Dan is met with a huge amount of applause and cheer from his fellow contestants watching in the gantry as he dips his first successful ball.

“My heart is literally in my throat,” Dan says.

“The gantry start cheering, I start cheering. It is actually looking really, really beautiful. Maybe this is enough to save me,” he continues.

There are about three different contestants on the gantry who excitedly tell Dan that his balls “look the best”.

Unfortunately, the mood switches very fast as the balls start to fall off their sticks – much to everyone’s horror.

RELATED: The hardest thing about being on MasterChef

“The ball keeps falling off the stick,” MasterChef judge Andy Allen tells Kirsten.

“Oh no,” she exclaims.

It’s clear that Dan is in trouble now, with every single ball he attempts falling off their stick, increasing his chance of going home.

RELATED: Contestant attempts the impossible

The remaining contestants try to help Dan relax, reminding him that he only needs four balls, but as he continues to dip and hang them up, they continue to fall to their demise.

To find out who leaves MasterChef on this challenge, tune into Channel 10 at 7.30pm.

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Judges react to Eric’s Carbonara Disaster (MasterChef)

Eric is flustered under the pressure of the MasterChef elimination challenge. Not thinking, he pours the carbonara mix into a hot pan, and slowly watches the eggs scramble. The judges watch on in horror. Literally, with hands over their eyes.

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#Judges #react #Erics #Carbonara #Disaster #MasterChef

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MasterChef 2021

MasterChef 2021

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Returning for its 13th remarkable season in 2021, MasterChef Australia is must-see TV with brand new judges and returning contestants.

Judges Andy Allen Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo.

MasterChef Australia is a premium family entertainment cooking competition, where amateur cooks compete for the coveted tile of MasterChef Australia.

Sunday to Thursday on Network 10

Season 13

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Former MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan sells Malvern East home

The Malvern East home of former MasterChef  judge Gary Mehigan has been sold, more than three months after it was first listed with a price guide of $5.9 million to $6.49 million.

The stylish home at 66 Central Park Road was first listed in late November and was due to go under the hammer on December 12.

However, it was withdrawn just hours before the scheduled auction, with listing agent Joanna Nairn from Marshall White Stonnington confirming they were in “private negotiations with two parties”.

This week, a caveat was slapped on the property, public records show. However, the records will not show how much the new owners paid for the celebrity chef’s home until the property has settled.

66 Central Park Road Malvern East
66 Central Park Road Malvern East Photo: Marshall White Stonnington

Mehigan and his wife Mandy bought the four-bedroom, three-bathroom home in her name for $3,301,000 in 2012, public records show.

Sitting on 1070 square metres, opposite Central Park in a tightly held and much-sought-after pocket of Malvern East known as the Gascoigne Estate, the updated period home also features three parking spaces, a study and a solar-heated pool.

The kitchen has two ovens and a wine fridge and extends to an al fresco dining area with a barbecue.

Gary Mehigan Photo: Julian Kingma

Ms Nairn described the home, built in about 1886, as an entertainer’s home.

“It is an amazing home on great land literally directly opposite Central Park,” she said. “It is a great entertaining home and, for the gardening enthusiast, there is a fabulous herb patch.”

Mehigan is planning to spend more time at his country property, joining a growing number of city-dwellers seeking a post-COVID tree-change.

66 Central Park Road Malvern East
66 Central Park Road Malvern East Photo: Marshall White Stonnington

Mehigan shot to fame as one of the judges on the long-running reality cooking show MasterChef Australia, appearing from 2009 to 2019.

Last year, he co-hosted the new cooking game show Plate of Origin alongside fellow former MasterChef Australia judge and food critic Matt Preston and celebrity chef Manu Feildel.

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MasterChef food critic Charles Campion dies aged 69

MasterChef food critic Charles Campion dies aged 69 as Jay Rayner leads tributes to ‘a great and lovely man’

  • Daughter of Charles Campion confirmed his death on Twitter this afternoon 
  • Masterchef food critic died on December 23 at age of 69, cause not yet known 
  • Fellow judges led tributes to the much-loved man on Twitter after news of death 

Masterchef food critic Charles Campion has died at the age of 69, as Jay Rayner leads tributes to ‘a great and lovely man’. 

Tributes to Campion have been flooding social media this afternoon after his daughter Ashley confirmed the 69 year old died on December 23. 

She tweeted: ‘He was a brilliant father, friend and husband. Everyone who came into contact with him came away a little better for it. Love you Dad!’

Jay Rayner led tributes to the father of two this morning, writing: ‘Charles Campion was a great and lovely man, with a brilliantly droll sense of humour. And boy he knew his subject. 

Charles Campion (centre) died on December 23 at the age of 69, his daughter has confirmed. Pictured: Campion with fellow critics William Sitwell and Tracey MacLeod

The popular food critic's daughter Ashley shared a picture of Campion with his family when confirming the news of his passing and described him as a 'brilliant father, friend and husband'

The popular food critic’s daughter Ashley shared a picture of Campion with his family when confirming the news of his passing and described him as a ‘brilliant father, friend and husband’

‘I held my breath when he was at the Masterchef table to find out whether I’d screwed up a point of detail and he was gently going to put me right. A great loss.’

Other fellow Masterchef judge Tracey MacLeod also to Twitter to share her sadness at the news of the Warwickshire-born man’s death: ‘Sad news about Charles Campion, the most knowledgeable, courtly and clear-eyed of colleagues around the Masterchef critics table. 

‘He lived for his family and talked about them often during breaks in filming, when he wasn’t grumbling about dessert parsley. We will miss you CC.’

The cause of Campion’s death is yet to be confirmed. He also leaves behind his wife Sylvia.

Food journalist Dan Saladino, who worked with Campion during projects for the BBC, posted his tribute on Christmas Eve: ‘Rest in peace Charles Campion – a lover of good food (and food stories) and a great friend of BBC Food Programme. 

‘I will never forget our adventures in the land of boudin noir and the programmes we made together. Farewell friend.’ 

In an emotional post, Campion's daughter said: 'Everyone who came into contact with him came away a little better for it. Love you Dad!'

In an emotional post, Campion’s daughter said: ‘Everyone who came into contact with him came away a little better for it. Love you Dad!’

Fellow critics Tracey MacLeod Jay Rayner led tributes to Campion, with Rayner describing him as a 'great and lovely man'

Fellow critics Tracey MacLeod Jay Rayner led tributes to Campion, with Rayner describing him as a ‘great and lovely man’ 

Campion wrote several cookbooks and a memoir titled Fifty Recipes to Stake Your Life On during his life and made a name for himself for his dislike of ‘pretentious’ food. 

He was also know for promoting small restaurants and businesses. 

Friend and co-judge William Sitwell also shared a moving tribute to Campion, in which he remembered him ‘constantly bemoaning the lack of chips or potatoes on a plate’ and  ‘his loathing of things like micro-herbs’.

Michelin chef Michel Roux Jr. said: ‘Very sad indeed, his knowledge was as wide as his smile, a true gentleman and an honour to have cooked for him.’ 

Fans of Campion’s work also took to social media to share their sadness at his passing. 

Fans of Campion also paid tribute to him on Twitter, as well as Michelin chef Michel Roux Jr.

Fans of Campion also paid tribute to him on Twitter, as well as Michelin chef Michel Roux Jr.

One wrote: ‘So sad to hear of the passing of Charles Campion, a giant among men, and an incredible influence during my formative years. Will raise a glass to you tonight, lovely man.’

Another said: ‘RIP Charles Campion, the exemplar of an old-school, unstarry but knowledgable restaurant critic. 

‘A friend once ran into him in the loo and told me “I have been in the gents with Campion. He is very large and very good”.’ 

Campion worked in the advertising industry for 15 years in London before a change of career – moving into a country mansion in Buxton, Derbyshire, with his wife.

They transformed the property into a hotel and restaurant – in which Campion was the head chef – but the business eventually failed. 

He then went into food journalism, reviewing restaurants for various newspapers and magazines. 

William Sitwell’s emotional tribute to ‘lovely man’ Campion

Very sad to hear from Mark Hix of the death of Charles Campion. He was a lovely man who I got to know well over the years, particularly while filming countless episodes of MasterChef. 

For which I’ll mainly remember him constantly bemoaning the lack of chips or potatoes on a plate, his loathing of things like micro-herbs; he’d pick up a delicate, miniscule head of baby coriander and study it with understandable bemusement, and his genuine, heartfelt and absolute adoration of sitting down. 

We did sometimes wonder when he lowered himself gently down into a sofa in the green room and then exerted a little pleasurable moan, whether we’d manage to get him up back again in time for filming. 

Of all the critics I have ever known he was surely the definitive, professional eater. I remember him leaving the set one day, bound for Australia where he would, for five days, diligently, seriously and with great care, attention and pleasure eat; breakfast, lunch, tea, nibbles, dinner and doubtless a few more meals in between. 

I was sat with him at the five year anniversary party of Club Gascon in Smithfield market. A waiter brought him the menu. He looked carefully at it and then said, ‘Yes, I’ll have that please.’ The entire menu.

 But it is not how he ate or the amount he ate that is his legacy. To me it’s the excitement he had in conveying news of brilliant places he discovered and knew of; little restaurants, run with passion by people who really knew what they were doing; be it a family-run curry house by a main road in Droitwich or an established London place that he knew was reliably fabulous. 

His knowledge was immense, as was his kindness and interest in others, which almost surpassed his love of rugby. Charles, I’ll see you in that little place in the sky where you’ll be happy in the corner; a large napkin around your neck, an enviable appetite, unflappable as you set about devouring a gargantuan feast. How lucky were those that knew and fed you.



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MasterChef cooks up a return to past glories in finale

MasterChef went out with a bang, bringing in 2 million viewers and revitalising the fatigued actuality structure.

Masterchef Australia (Impression: Ten)

MasterChef’s revival in Australia was verified previous evening with a gorgeous surge in viewers to amounts that reminded of past glories. Two million men and women watched the winner’s announcement. The direct up — the ultimate cooking organization — also rated solidly with 1.64 million nationally.

The system did nicely in the metros with 1.52 million for the winner and 1.26 million for the cooking guide up.

The winner’s announcement was the most-watched method on the evening with an audience practically 700,000 more than 2019’s lacklustre 1.3 million. The winner’s announcement and lead up were the leading two courses in metro marketplaces.

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Falconio outdoes Masterchef final, wins night for Seven

Seven wins the night (just) with Murder in the Outback up in opposition to Masterchef and The Voice.

(Impression: Ten)

Murder In The Outback, the 2nd element of the reheated seem at the 2001 Peter Falconio murder in the Northern Territory averaged 1.53 million, down 113,000 from the to start with aspect a 7 days back and won the evening for 7 — narrowly.

It was a so-what next ep. It did prime the initial section of Ten’s Masterchef grand last (1.45 million) and the remaining of The Voice on Nine — 1.24 million for the lead up (1.36 million previous year), and the 1.21 million for the winner’s announcement (844,000 final year).

Masterchef topped the demos.

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Masterchef wins ratings, loses favourite Poh Ling Yeow

It won the non-information battle on Sunday night, but will the elimination of people’s fave Poh Ling Yeow injury Masterchef’s scores?

(Picture: Ten)

Non-action replay of the past couple of Sundays: 9 wins, Seven loses, Ten does Ok, the ABC picks up a portion. Seven loses irrespective of beginning with a huge margin from 6pm to 7pm news earn of 356,000. 

Masterchef Australia won the non-information battle (yet again) with 1.27 million. People’s fave Poh Ling Yeow was tossed past night … will that hurt the remaining episodes? Massive Brother could only handle 1.04 million and survived the confected brush-with-COVID teaser rubbish. It was pretty much like BB “jumped the shark” very last evening in a desperate try to grab viewers.

The Voice averaged 1.13 million and 60 Minutes 979,000. Once again that is why 9 received quickly and 7 was still left perfectly at the rear of, even with that stable guide at 7pm. Masterchef topped all the demos with Large Brother second and The Voice left guiding.

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Masterchef cooks up bragging rights for Ten

Masterchef tops the non-news rankings, delivering the night for Ten.

Masterchef Australia (Image: Ten)

Masterchef Australia up on last week (1.30 million nationally, and bragging rights on the night for Ten), The Voice, down on last week at 1.26 million for Nine; Big Brother third in the reality rankings and up over one million national viewers for a program average of 1.08 million.

But the lead up to the eviction averaged 1.09 million, 32,000 more than the highlight, the actual eviction. A worry if it becomes a trend.

This is the first time Masterchef has topped the non-news rankings when The Voice and BB have also been in rival schedules. So bragging rights to Ten, and Seven which dominated the demos.

All up more than 3.6 million people watched the three ‘reality’ programs — that’s still impressive.

The afternoon battle of the codes saw very low figures — just 319,000 national people for the AFL game on Seven and just 462,000 for the NRL on Nine. That’s a long way from the opening games of the season restarts and their million plus totals.

In the regions, Seven News, 555,000, The Voice, 390,000, Nine News, 389,000, 7pm ABC News, 382,000, Big Brother, 340,000.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (28.5%)
  2. Seven (28.3%)
  3. Ten (21.7%)
  4. ABC (15.2%)
  5. SBS (6.3%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (20.5%)
  2. Seven (19.0%)
  3. Ten (16.6%)
  4. ABC (11.0%)
  5. SBS ONE (3.7%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7mate (5.3%)
  2. 10 Bold (3.5%
  3. GO (3.3%)
  4. 7TWO (2.7%)
  5. ABC Kids/Comedy (2.1%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.74 million
  2. Nine/NBN News — 1.41 million
  3. Masterchef Australia (Ten) — 1.30 million
  4. The Voice (Nine) — 1.26 million
  5. Big Brother (Seven) — 1.09 million
  6. 7pm ABC News — 1.09 million
  7. Big Brother — Eviction (Seven) — 1.06 million
  8. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 850,000
  9. Grand Designs (ABC) — 725,000
  10. Operation Buffalo (ABC) — 703,000

Top metro programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.09 million
  2. Nine News — 1.02 million

Losers: A lot for everyone last night

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.09 million
  2. Nine News — 1.02 million
  3. 7pm ABC News – 708,000
  4. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 561,000
  5. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 501,000
  6. Nine News Late — 339,000
  7. 10 News First — 338,000
  8. The Project 6.30 (Ten) — 355,000
  9. SBS World News — 185,000

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Insiders (ABC, ABC News) — 666,000
  2. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) – 476,000
  3. Landline (ABC) — 443,000
  4. Weekend Today (Nine) – 308,000 
  5. Offsiders (ABC) — 296,000
  6. Sports Sunday (Nine) — 222,000

Top five pay TV programs: 

  1. NRL: Canberra v Melbourne (Fox League) — 241,000 
  2. NRL: Cronulla v Canterbury (Fox League) — 222,000
  3. AFL: Gold Coast v Adelaide (Fox Footy) — 165,000
  4. AFL: Bounce Ep 14 (Fox Footy) — 155,000
  5. NRL: Pre-Game (Fox League) — 147,000
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