‘MasterChef Australia’ has been the hero of TV during the coronavirus pandemic and not just because of the delicious food, but because of the touching stories of its contestants and judges. 

So as 2020 nears its end, we decided to look through our favourite cooks’ Instagram accounts to dig up the most nostalgic, feel-good and amusing blasts from the past.

After all, who doesn’t love a good throwback?

Melissa Leong 

Melissa, the show’s first female judge who joined alongside Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen, shared this goodie in 2018. The flashback shows her sharing the frame with ‘My Kitchen Rules’ judge Manu Feildel around 2008, proving the celebrity foodie world in Australia really is “that” small. 

Below the photo she wrote, “#tbt about a decade when @manufeildelofficial and I were wide eyed and bushy tailed…and I rocked a china doll haircut, a perennial red lip and cat eye flick.”

Manu, well-known for being a judge on ‘MKR’ alongside Pete Evans from 2010 to 2020, went on to become a judge on ‘Plate Of Origin’ this year with former ‘MasterChef Australia’ judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris. 

Poh Ling Yeow 

We love this photo of Poh because it reminds us where the magic all began. 

The now-47-year-old auditioned for ‘MasterChef Australia’ in 2009, when her friend Sarah suggested it, and placed second behind Julie Goodwin.

“11 years ago, I made one of the weirdest decisions of my life and it changed my world forever,” Poh wrote with this promo snap of her on the Channel 10 show.

Loving to share the small but meaningful details with her fans, she added, “Ps Wearing summer dress I hand sewed in the Summer of 2008.” 

Since her first ‘MasterChef’ stint, Poh has been a household name in the Australian cooking and TV world, and viewers were thrilled to see the fan favourite return to ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ this year.

While she placed fifth on the all-stars season, her culinary career has gone from strength to strength, thanks to her Jam Face stall at the Adelaide markets and several ambassador roles with various food and lifestyle brands. 

Reynold Poernomo 

How can you not gush over this adorable photo of the dessert king as a young boy? 

“So my aunty dug up some old photos,” Reynold wrote next to the image shared on Instagram. “Found this handsome lil gangsta reppin the gang folded arms tough guy pose and turtle neck for fashion purposes.” 

Reynold moved to Australia from Indonesia with his family at age four. In an episode of ‘MasterChef’ earlier this year, he spoke about his childhood in Indonesia, where his parents ran a restaurant called ‘Bali Sunrise’. 

“A long time ago my parents had a restaurant together. I remember going after school, and people would think that I’d be learning so much from my mum or my dad, but actually, they’d be working so hard in the restaurant,” he said. 

“I remember during immigration having my parents taken away for a little bit. The restaurant closed down, of course. My brother was getting food for me when I was hungry. … It was the only time I had time with my parents, watching them work.” 

Now he runs two Koi dessert bars with his brothers, Ronald and Arnold. 

Jock Zonfrillo

Here’s another childhood snap that’s too cute for its own good. 

In August, the Scottish chef and judge shared this photo of himself at his second birthday. 

“Love finding these old photos!” he wrote on Instagram. “A young Barry Zonfrillo on my 2nd birthday, massive props to Mum for matching my shorts to my cake 🤣#tbt #MatchingShortsToCakeGoals.” 

Never miss a thing. Sign up to HuffPost Australia’s weekly newsletter for the latest news, exclusives and guides to achieving the good life.