Billie McKay Wins MasterChef Australia 2022 Grand Finale

After three dramatic months in the kitchen, Billie McKay was crowned the MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites winner, taking home the $250,000 prize money and making history as the first person to win the competition twice (she won Season 7 in 2015).
Sarah Todd finished as runner-up and didn't leave empty-handed, with the judges awarding her $30,000.
McKay recently said competing this season allowed her to reconnect with her passion for cooking after she — like many new mothers — had to take a break when she gave birth to daughter Ada in 2020.
Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites winner Billie McKay
After winning the show in 2015, McKay worked at UK celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal's Michelin-starred restaurant, Fat Duck, for six months before coming back home and working on her family's dairy farm.
"Then I got older, got married and had Ada. I'd just been loving the farm life and working on the farm. But always in the back of my mind, I knew how much I loved cooking and wanted to work in food," she recently told Refinery29 Australia.
"But it didn't really happen. I was loving the farm and not really knowing how to get there," she explained.
She's stoked to be back in the food game thanks to her reality TV return.
"It sounds cliche and a bit boring, but it really has made me fall back in love with cooking and given me a bit more of a direction now," she said, "so I'm eternally grateful for that."
Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites grand finalists Billie McKay and Sarah Todd
This year's finale involved two rounds, pushing the contestants to be creative and fast in the kitchen while previously eliminated contestants and family members watched the action unfold from the gantry.
In round one, Billie and Sarah were able to choose between a mystery box, a brief they must cook to or a cloche with one or two random
ingredients that must feature in their dish. The pair decided to go with the brief, which was to serve up a dish that is both sweet and savoury.
Sarah cooked Sticky Wingettes with Sweet and Savoury Gravy which were a hit with judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.
"Very brave to do chicken wings in the grand finale," said Jock. "What you have done is made them luxury. One of the best things about this is that you can still taste the chicken wings and it's clean and white and fresh and beautiful because you confited it."
She scored 26 out of 30 in round one.
Billie, who is well known for her creative desserts, served up Cumin Panna Cotta with Rosemary and Rhubarb. Unfortunately her panna cotta wasn't set properly.
"The panna cotta, it's like a thick custard, really," said Jock.
"That's a really tough pill to swallow, but the flavours are really sound," said Melissa, choosing to commend Billie on other elements of the dish.
"The honeycomb is the last experience I have on my palate right now. It was really crunchy, it was not at all sticky," she said. "And it's just leaving a lovely perfume of sweetness and that little bit of cumin in there as well. To be able to balance it takes a lot of skill. It was very clever."
She scored 21 out of 30 in round one.
In round two, British celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal sets the challenge, where the finalists have five hours and 15 minutes to replicate his epic dish, Taffety Tart.
Sarah was the first to serve the dessert after she plated hers up first.
"I think she's done an amazing job, first of all," said Jock after tasting Sarah's version. "The fluid gel, texture and flavour, just as good as yours," he continued, gesturing towards Heston.
Andy delivered mixed feedback, saying, "There are a lot of positives here. However, I'm going to just go straight to the negatives.
"Is her not book-folding her pastry as well as she possibly could have, and the loose ice cream going to open the door for Billie?" he questioned.
Andy awarded Sarah a 7 out of 10, Heston awarded 7 as well, while Jock and Melissa went with 8 each. That made it a total of 30 out of 40 for this round and 56 out of 60 altogether.
Then it was time for Billie to serve her version, after she struggled to nail all the elements during the cook.
"I think when you're five points behind, you can either concede defeat right there and then or you can push," said Melissa after tasting it. "It's not in her to concede. Everything is there, present and correct. Really clear layers and beautiful textures."
"I think it's safe to say that Billie's dish is better than good," Andy added. "The big question is, is it good enough to make up those five points?"
Heston gave a 9 out of 10 to Billie for her dessert, as did Andy and Jock, while Melissa gave 9, giving her a total of 37 for this round and making her the winner of MasterChef 2022.
This year's season of MasterChef featured 12 previous contestants (favourites) and 12 amateur home cooks (fans).
The previously eliminated contestants were 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.
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