MasterChef's top two reveal unseen finale moment: ‘We made a pact’

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Season 14 of MasterChef Australia officially came to an end on Tuesday night with former champion Billie McKay making history as the first person to win the cooking competition twice.

The 31-year-old competed against season six star Sarah Todd in the nail-biting finale, which saw the two favourites go head to head across two intense rounds.

MasterChef’s Sarah Todd and Billie McKay.
MasterChef’s Sarah Todd and Billie McKay open up about the final challenge and what viewers didn’t get to see on TV. Photo: Channel Ten

The first round gave Billie and Sarah an option between a brief, a mystery box and a feature ingredient underneath a cloche, with the pair selecting the brief and being tasked with cooking a dish that was both sweet and savoury in 75 minutes.

Chatting with Yahoo Lifestyle following the episode, the two favourites spoke candidly about the final challenge and shared their reactions to the other two options which viewers didn’t get to see on TV.

“They actually showed us what was in the mystery box and Sarah and I were a bit relieved,” Billie says. “I can't remember exactly what they were but we weren't overly excited about the ingredients.”

“It was doable, but it wasn't as exciting,” Sarah adds. “I think the reason why we really liked the brief was because it was an open pantry and you got to be creative.

“I think Billie can cook anything in the desert space and I can cook anything savoury, so we kind of made a pact because there’s no malice and we wanted to make sure we could put our best foot forward. It was fun.”

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The pair went on to reveal that there were actually two ingredients underneath the cloche: Blueberries and mushrooms.

“That would have been interesting,” Billie laughs.

“I was like, thank goodness,” Sarah remarks. “Although the challenge in Tasmania, I actually did a dish with blackberries and mushrooms. They actually go really well together and it’s a really beautiful combo, but thank god I didn’t pick that again because I could’ve just made the same dish.”

MasterChef’s final challenge.
The pair reveal that there were blueberries and mushrooms hidden underneath the cloche. Photo: Channel Ten

'It is what it is'

Billie went on to say that she felt a strong sense of déjà vu when Heston Blumenthal walked into the kitchen for round two, seeing as the celebrity chef also prepared the final pressure test for the season seven finale.

“I thought, oh my god, here we go again, it's going to be a five-hour challenge with multiple sets of ingredients,” she recalls. “And that's actually exactly what it was! It was a very, very difficult, long, exhausting slog.”

While Heston’s appearance sparked controversy on social media, seeing as Billie worked at his London establishment, The Fat Duck, following her win, she asserts that she didn’t have too much of an advantage over Sarah.

“When I worked at The Fat Duck it was under Heston’s head chef and lots of other chefs and Heston would sort of drop-in every now and then to help with the menu planning, but I didn't really see a whole lot of him,” she explains.

“But he's always been lovely and he remembered me and Sarah when he came in, so that was pretty cool.”

Meanwhile, Sarah tells us she didn’t have any issue with Billie’s previous relationship with Heston.

“It is what it is,” she says. “I think that we walked into this competition knowing that there were going to be other people who have been out there in the big wide world cooking and doing these things. You walk in knowing that, and that's just the way it is.”

Heston Blumenthal on MasterChef.
Heston Blumenthal returned to the MasterChef kitchen to set the final pressure test. Photo: Channel Ten

'Terrified'

Speaking about returning to the competition for a second time, Billie says she was “definitely intimidated” competing against the fans and favourites.

“The sorts of things that the returning contestants were doing outside of the kitchen, like cooking professionally and working in restaurants, I was terrified because I was well and truly out of practice,” she details.

“Maybe I'm just a bit older and slower now, but I felt like the challenges were definitely harder - which makes sense with returning contestants coming back, they had to up the ante a bit.”

Sarah adds that she didn’t have any expectations coming back to the show, but she was excited to return to Australia and share her experiences after spending time in India.

“I was asked to go on Back To Win but I was just really busy with work and it didn't end up happening, and then Covid hit,” she shares.

“Then I got the call for this season and I was like, you know what, I think I'm just going to do this. It felt like it was kind of a message and I'm really thankful that I did it because I feel really solid in my cooking style now.”

MasterChef's Billie McKay.
‘To do it once felt very incredible but now doing it twice, it’s definitely going to go on my resumé.’ Photo: Channel Ten

'Definitely going to go on my resumé'

The cookbook author went on to say that she has plenty of exciting opportunities coming up post-MasterChef that she’s looking forward to.

“I've been working on a brand called Hot Toddy, which is a range of chilli sauces inspired by all of these experiences that I've had across the world and showing people that spice and chilli aren’t just about blowing off your socks, it’s about flavour,” she says.

“I’ve also got a few things happening in India including a new TV show that I'm shooting coming up as well. So yeah, really excited to be back in the big wide world.”

Following her history-making win, Billie admits she’s still trying to process everything that’s happened before she moves forward.

“It’s pretty unbelievable, like it feels like a bit of a dream,” she says. “To do it once felt very incredible but now doing it twice, it’s definitely going to go on my resumé.

“I want to keep cooking so I’m hoping to open a little restaurant where I live and start small, but that money will definitely help in setting that up.”

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