Malaysian-born Diana Chan emerged as champion in the MasterChef Australia
grand finale on Monday night.
The nerve-wrecking final faceoff between Chan and Ben Ungermann came down to a mere one-point difference.
After taking home A$250,000 (RM850,000) with this win, the Melbourne-based cook is now one step closer to achieving her dream of opening a fresh and casual restaurant in the inner city.
Chan told Sydney Morning Herald
that people can expect fast and wholesome meals that embrace fusion flavours, including her Malaysian roots.
"I definitely want to have Malaysian influences," she said. "But balanced, wholesome and delicious – that's my criteria."
She was able to sail through the first two dishes with a comfortable lead, but Ungermann managed to close the gap in the final round.
Chan revealed that it was the final challenge that almost broke her as she had to recreate a dessert by world champion chocolatier Kirsten Tibbals for six grueling hours.
The dish was a series of faux fruits that oozed apple sauce and salted caramel when sliced open.
She had difficulty putting together the complex elements and had accidentally broken her pear’s stem with just seconds left on the clock.
"Doing that cook was the most stressful situation I've ever been in in my life," she said.
However, it was Ungermann’s plating skills and an untimely injury which cost him the MasterChef
trophy and led to Chan’s triumphant win.
The 29-year-old accountant had proven herself to be a strong contender throughout the show’s ninth season with her flavourful dishes and ability to remain calm even in the most stressful of situations.
“"I reminded myself that there was no point panicking," she told Sydney Morning Herald
"I believe I handled the pressure pretty well. I do my best when I'm calm and confident."
Born and raised in Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur, Chan moved to Melbourne 10 years ago. Her cooking is heavily influenced by her parents’ love for food.
“Mum was always an amazing cook, she cooked a lot of Peranakan food – used a lot of herbs and ulam – and she baked a lot as well,” she said in an interview with The Star
“Dad was all about outdoor barbecues and Cantonese food.”
Moving to Melbourne had spurred her love of fresh, organic produce when she discovered the city’s farmers’ markets.
Congratulations once again to Diana Chan for her successful win and we can’t wait to taste her food in Melbourne in the near future!