Larissa Takchi has taken home the 2019 MasterChef crown on Tuesday’s grand finale, with the 22-year-old becoming the youngest winner in the series’ history.
However, the victory has been somewhat overshadowed by the fact that the episode was the last time fans will see Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris together on the show.
The judges parted ways with Network Ten on Tuesday afternoon, after contract negotiations between the parties broke down.
It’s understood the trio, who have been at the helm of the cooking show for the past 11 years, were seeking a pay rise and that the decision is separate to embattled judge George’s recent underpayment scandal.
In an unexpected end to the series, contestants and fans farewelled Matt, Gary and George, in preparation for new judges to take the mantle in 2020.
MasterChef 2019 winner
However, not all the tears shed were sad ones, and Larissa was overjoyed to beat off competition from runner-up Tessa Boersma and third place finisher Simon Toohey to snag this year’s top prize.
The young restaurant manager and uni student from Sydney out-cooked her competitors with flavour-packed dishes proudly inspired by her Lebanese heritage.
In the finale, Larissa’s unique take on the Szechuan pavlova with beetroot and blackberry sorbet was enough to earn 10s from each of the outgoing judges.
The triumphant dessert followed a bone marrow with onion soubise entree and main dish of marron and fennel puree.
Packed with her trademark use of flavour, Larissa’s dishes were enough to warrant her a somewhat surprising win and clinch the show’s $250,000 prize money.
This year’s final five were a fierce bunch, with Prince Harry lookalike and fan favourite Tim Bone bowing out of the competition on Monday night after he failed to perfectly recreate one of Peter Gilmore’s deserts.
Meanwhile, Nicole Scott said her farewell on Sunday night in a Duel Elimination, after beating out the rest of the blockbuster season’s top 24.
But by Tuesday night, all eyes were shifted to Larissa, who now hopes to use her platform and lucrative winnings to launch a paddock to plate restaurant and farm in Sydney’s northwest.
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