reality tv

A recent arrest and a rumoured engagement: Everything we know about MasterChef's Ben Ungermann.

To catch up on all things MasterChef Australia 2020, make sure you check out our MasterChef hub. We’ve got you completely covered.

When a revamped version of MasterChef returned to our screens earlier this year, we were no doubt excited to meet the three shiny new judges. But we were also eager to see 24 of our favourites contestants back in the MasterChef kitchen.

However, one contestant was already making headlines before the season even started: 35-year-old Ben Ungermann.

If you’re not watching MasterChef: Back to Win, here’s what you’re missing out on. Post continues below.

Video by Channel Ten.

We first met Ben back in 2017, when he placed second in the show’s ninth season.

The fan favourite famously lost the competition by just one point, leaving Diana Chan to claim the title.

During his time on the show, the Queensland-born model earnt his reputation as ‘the ice cream king’. And it wasn’t hard to see why.

Throughout the competition, Ben impressed the judges with his unique ice cream dishes.

But despite his success in the kitchen, Ben’s time on the show wasn’t always easy.

“Viewers don’t realise contestants on MasterChef sacrifice a year of their lives. The auditioning takes five months and then there are seven months living in a house with no wallet, no phone, no internet and no TV,” he told last year.


View this post on Instagram


IM BACK! BACK TO WIN MASTERCHEF 2020 ❤ stay tuned fam x

A post shared by Ben Ungermann (@ben_ungermann) on


Ben said he had to work hard to stay in the competition.

“For me, the first couple of weeks were really hard. All the other contestants were better cooks than me, but I studied and practised so much that by the end of the season I’d improved exponentially. We’d spend 12 to 14 hours a day filming, and every evening I’d study for another four or five hours and survive on three or four hours sleep,” he told the publication.

“I never got used to the pressure and was always nervous going into the cook-offs, though I did learn to manage it. I know it sounds like a cliche, but I didn’t start performing well on the show until I started believing in myself.”

After coming in second place, Ben was awarded $40,000 prize money. But it didn’t get him very far.

“She [Diana] got $250,000 in prizes and a monthly column in a food magazine, while I got only $40,000 — all of which went to paying bills that had accumulated during the 12 months I wasn’t working,” he said.

“So after the show, financially, I was back at square one, but I had had this amazing experience. I think the reason I became successful is that I had no time to rest and had to figure out what I wanted to do quickly.”

So Ben decided to open an ice-cream parlour in Queensland’s Ipswich with his brother, Danny, under the name Ungermann Brothers. The pair then went on to open a second store on the Gold Coast in late 2019.



View this post on Instagram


TO CELEBRATE MY GOURMET ICE CREAM PARLOUR 1st BDAY TOMORROW the 26th of January myself and my brother Danny will selling limited edition packaged Lamington Ice Creams! And inside one of these Ice Creams is a GOLDEN TICKET which will give one lucky person 3 months supply of Ungermann Brothers Ice Cream @ungermannbrothers ???? Also I will be hosting Masterclasses and taking photos with the fans. There will be face painting and an appearance from Elsa the Ice Queen, Vintage VW’s on display, escape rooms and FREE haircuts by @paramedicbarber for donations to help support Barber Aid! It’s going to be an amazing AUSTRALIA DAY see you at 88 Limestone Street Ipswich. Lets celebrate ❤ The Ice Cream King ????????‍???? #icecream #benwithnojerry #justadanny #icecreambros

A post shared by Ben Ungermann (@ben_ungermann) on

Looking back on his first season of MasterChef, Ben says he’s glad he didn’t win.

“The exposure I got from MasterChef was phenomenal, and I was truly blessed to be on it. But it was really just a stepping stone. Honestly, now I’m glad I didn’t win. It was a blessing in disguise because it forced me to grab the limited success I had and run with it,” he told

Ben also had the opportunity to work with British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, undertake a culinary course in South Africa and even appear on MasterChef Netherlands.

Outside of cooking, Ben is a dad to three children Ella, Phoenix and Oli, who he shares with his ex-partner.

He is also rumoured to be engaged to his girlfriend and South African TV star and radio personality, Leigh-Anne Williams.

According to Now To Love, the couple have been in a long-distance relationship for 14 months despite rarely posting about each other on social media.


Daily Mail reports that rumours of their engagement first began in January when Leigh-Anne was seen wearing a diamond ring in an Instagram photo taken in Melbourne. (Although you have to look pretty close to actually see the ring).


View this post on Instagram


Melbourne ❤

A post shared by Leigh-Anne Williams (@leighanne_will) on

More recently, Ben shared a photo himself holding Leigh-Anne’s hand alongside the word “forever”, which led fans to congratulate the couple.

View this post on Instagram


❤️ forever

A post shared by Ben Ungermann (@ben_ungermann) on


Leigh-Anne shared a similar photo of Ben over on her Instagram.


View this post on Instagram


1 year. ❤

A post shared by Leigh-Anne Williams (@leighanne_will) on

However, at this stage, Ben is yet to confirm the news.

In the meantime, he is back on our screens battling it out in MasterChef: Back To Win. But unfortunately, we already know he won’t make it to the end of the competition.


In March, it was confirmed that Ben had been removed from this season of MasterChef because he had been arrested for an incident of a “personal nature”.

A spokesperson from the show’s production company, Endemol Shine, told 10 daily: “We can confirm Ben Ungermann has left the MasterChef Australia competition. As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment.”

That said, we still don’t know when he will officially exit the show and how producers will spin it.

While Ben is still yet to speak publicly about his arrest, he did reply to an Instagram comment about how his exit will be covered by the show.

“I’m actually devastated,” one fan commented on his Instagram. “How do they edit you out?”

“That’s up to MasterChef Australia. Appreciate the support,” he replied.

Now all of Australia is waiting to see what happens next.

Feature Image: Instagram @ben_ungermann/Ten.

Sick of tabloid drama?

Sign up for our “Mamamia Celebrity” newsletter, for a smart take on everything entertainment.