‘Both Killer At Their Own Playing Field’: What Sets MasterChef’s Grand Finalists Billie & Sarah Apart

Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites grand finalists Billie McKay and Sarah Todd
It's an all-female MasterChef grand finale tonight with Billie McKay and Sarah Todd going head to head to win the $250,000 prize money.
Daniel Lamble, who was eliminated at the end of last night's semi-final, has revealed it'll be a close call between McKay and Todd as both bring unique strengths and skills to the kitchen.
"Billie's brain is something that I wish I could extract the files out of and assess myself because she does a lot of [what seems like] wacky pairings of spices or herbs in desserts," Lamble tells Refinery29 Australia.
"It's incredible how she does that, and on paper you'd think that might not work but then she does it and executes it perfectly."
While McKay's experimentation with desserts has set her apart in this competition, Todd's ability to combine Indian flavours with French techniques have also given her a competitive edge. The single mum studied at French culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, before setting up her own restaurant in India and learning traditional dishes from her son's Punjabi grandparents.
"Sarah's got that whole French cuisine background and the Indian influence — she's lived there and learnt from the source, from the people who know it best," says Lamble.
"That is such a pairing that can be so deadly in a competition like this. She's got the fundamental skills from the French training and then the influence from [India] as well.
Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites contestants Billie McKay, Daniel Lamble and Sarah Todd
"Again, it's almost like Billie, where they're both killer at their own playing field," he continues, saying it really can be anyone's game as "it's hard to say which one's better."
McKay won Season 7 in 2015, while Todd placed 10th in Season 6 a year earlier. Both cooks returned to the MasterChef Australia kitchen this year for its Fans & Favourites season, featuring 12 previous contestants (favourites) and 12 amateur home cooks (fans).
British celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal will join judges, Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen to taste the final dish at the grand finale tonight. The rest of the contestants from this season will also be present, watching the action unfold from the gantry before the winner is announced.
Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites judges Melissa Leong, Andy Allen and Jock Zonfrillo
The previously eliminated contestants are Julie Goodwin (Season 1), Alvin Quah (Season 2) Sashi Cheliah (Season 10), Michael Weldon (Season 3), Christina Batista (Season 5), John Carasig (Season 7), Aldo Ortado (Season 10), Mindy Woods (Season 4), Minoli De Silva (Season 13), Tommy Pham (Season 13), Daniel Lamble, Ali Stoner, Jenn Lee, Chris Tran, Keyma Vasquez Montero, Dulan Hapuarachchi, Harry Tomlinson, Matt Landmark, Max Krapivsky, Melanie PerssonMontana Hughes and Steph Woon.
The MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites finale will air on Tuesday, July 12 at 7:30pm on Channel 10 and 10 Play.
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