Kate Bracks is Australia’s MasterChef 2011

Masterchef 2011 winner Kate Brack

Experience won out over youth as NSW’s Kate Bracks outcooked younger rival Michael Weldon to become this year’s MasterChef Australia in last night’s nail-biting finale.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet—surely I’ve got to come down at some point but I’m still floating in the clouds,” the Orange, NSW stay-at-home mum told WHO, after scoring 87 out of 100 to 25-year-old Adelaide film-projectionist Michael’s 82 during three rounds, including a pressure test involving a recreation of the intricate ‘Snowman’ dessert from the world’s number one restaurant, Noma.

“I think the first thing that jumps to mind is right, life’s never going to be the same,” says Kate, 36, who takes home $100,000 and a Random House cook book deal as part of her prize. “I am excited about the opportunities that it’s going to bring. And to have the opportunity to record those recipes floating around in my head, it’s amazing.”

The mum of Erin, 8, Liam, 6 and Maya 4, who credits husband Luke for his support during the series, says her cookbook will focus purely on desserts—“I loved the yoghurt granita from the Snowman!”— and that the prize money will go towards her long-held dream of opening a bed and breakfast in her home town. “It’s all about having a ‘foodie’ style B&B—a rural setting that people can use as a base to enjoy everything that Orange has to offer, or as a destination to come and relax and be pampered,” says Kate of her plans. “I love the idea of communal eating, so I see a big communal table people can come have dinner, probably with my family! That is me.”

As for whether she and Luke will add to their brood of three, whose favourite dish is her burritos, “We’re all done and dusted, unless God has other plans,” says Kate with a laugh. “But whatever’s ahead, I’ve learnt I can actually deal with a lot more pressure than I thought I could.”