PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian-born chef beat the competition to take 2017 MasterChef Australia crown yesterday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Diana Chan, 29, defeated Ben Ungermann in the grand final of the reality TV show’s ninth season, which aired Down Under yesterday, and only defeated him by one point in a nail-biting finish to her seven-month long journey on the show.
Born and raised in Johor Baru and Kuala Lumpur, Chan moved to Melbourne 10 years ago, and now hopes to open a “fresh and casual” restaurant in her new adopted city. She is an accountant by profession.
Now that she is on the verge of achieving her dream, Chan has no qualms of ensuring her roots are part of the cuisine.
“I definitely want to have Malaysian influences, but also balanced, wholesome and delicious, that’s my criteria,” she was quoted as saying by the daily.
During the final, her first two dishes seemed to have given her a comfortable lead, but Ungermann soon caught up.
Ultimately, it was his plating skills and an untimely cut to his finger that put paid to his chances of success, according to the daily.
With the win, Chan goes home with the A$250,000 (RM850,000) prize money and will be one step to fulfilling her dream of being a restauranteur in inner Melbourne.
“It’s something I always dreamed of but never thought would happen,” she told SMH.
Speaking about her victory, the former Convent Johor Bahru student said her secret weapon was the ability to remain calm, despite things going wrong in the kitchen.
“I reminded myself that there was no point panicking. I believe I handled the pressure pretty well. I do my best when I’m calm and confident,” she was quoted as saying.
In the final challenge, one such disaster took place when trying to recreate a faux fruits dessert by world champion chocolatier Kirsten Tibballs.
Chan had trouble assembling the complex elements, and broke her pear’s stem with just seconds left on the clock.
“Doing that cook was the most stressful situation I’ve ever been in my life,” she said, according to SMH.
She is also the second Malaysian-born winner of MasterChef Australia. Season two of the reality TV series was won by Adam Liaw, who was born in Penang.