Last updated: July 28, 2010

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MasterChef finale makes Australian TV history

MasterChef

Adelaide lawyer Adam Liaw is crowned Australia's new MasterChef. Pictures: Channel Ten Source: Supplied

Adam Liaw

An ecstatic Adam pictured with judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris. Source: Supplied

MasterChef

Callum with Peter Gilmore during the third round of the competition Source: Supplied

MasterChef

Adam and runner-up Callum are already planning their next move Source: Supplied

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Adam Liaw

Adam goes through his paces during last night's final Source: Supplied

LAST night's finale of MasterChef cooked up massive ratings as expected, making the reality show the most-watched non-sporting event ever shown on Australian television.

A peak of 4.348 million viewers across the five capital cities tuned in to watch Adam Liaw beat Callum Hann to win $100,000 and a cookbook publishing deal.

The show averaged 3.962 million metropolitan viewers nationally a peak audience of 4.348m. Factoring in regional viewing, the peak figure rose to more than 5.7 million.

It was the third highest rating TV show since OzTAM figures began in 2001, behind only the Lleyton Hewitt v Marat Safin 2005 Australian Open tennis final (4.045 million average) and the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final (4.016 million).

Last year’s finale averaged 3.72 million with a peak of 4.1 million.

The showdown:

Smart beat heart in the MasterChef decider, with bookies favourite Liaw, 31, taking a four-point lead into the final challenge, a three-hat pressure test by Sydney Quay restaurant's Peter Gilmore proved the difference between the final two.

Liaw outbrained his competition with advanced food knowledge and tasting skills, claiming the win with a score 89 to Hann's 82 out of a possible 100.

Hann, 20, slipped behind with a botched omelette and his inability to identify savoury sauces, bocconcini and exotic fruits.

Liaw felt the heat too, struggling to perfect the sugared tuiles in Gilmore's delicate dessert but won over the judges with his elaborate guava and custard apple snow egg masterpiece.

Relocating to Australia

Liaw now turns his thoughts to relocating to Australia after six years living in Tokyo as a media lawyer.

"The competition has been hard because I'm moving countries got to find a house, find a car, health insurance, all of that stuff that it is going to take for me to have a new life in Australia,'' he said.

"I haven't thought much past the finale to be honest."

Forced to choose between MasterChef and his law job, Liaw is preparing to meet with potential business partners next month including Tokyo-based Sydney chef and friend Matthew Crabbe.

Crabbe, who trained with Tetsuya and Momofuku's David Chang, had success with his first restaurant Two Rooms.

"I've been striving for this for so long," Liaw said.

"It's only three-and-a-half months on the TV but it is nine months in real time.

"To have one goal in your mind for that long and to achieve it is the biggest thing in my life."

Liaw dedicated his win to his grandmother, Eng.

"She has devoted her entire life to our family and I think it is a mark of respect and love I have for her," Liaw said.

Hann's plans

Hann has similar plans to Liaw.

"My long-term goal is to have my own restaurant one day and I don't think that coming second is going to stop me doing that," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to getting into a few kitchens. I've already had some pretty amazing offers and will be taking some of those up."

The engineering student was full of praise for Liaw and he hoped he and his mate - both from South Australia - would be able to sneak away together this week to reflect on the whole experience.

"Adam and I have talked about this. I would love to just go to a quiet pub somewhere and hopefully not have anyone recognise us and have a couple of quiet beers together and reflect on the last couple of months of our lives,'' Hann said.

"He sort of has taken me under his wing a little bit, being a few years older than me and everything.

"When you're with someone 24-7 for nine months you become very close.''

Everyone's a winner

At least one of the judges was so impressed with Hann's efforts that he will not go home empty-handed.

George Calombaris has offered Hann a three-month culinary scholarship in his Melbourne restaurants, including a wage and $10,000 for expenses.

"You're a brilliant boy, mate, and you are going to be a superstar, trust me," Calombaris told him.

The other 22 contestants and several chefs who had been involved in the show rushed to embrace Liaw and Hann after the announcements were made, offering congratulations and from one past contestant-turned-chef, a couple of words of advice.

"Hold on tight, mate," last year's winner Goodwin warned Liaw as she hugged him.

Judge Matt Preston said Liaw had won because he was "highly skilled" and had an "intellectual approach to food".

With The Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and AAP

 

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  • Stephanie of Perth Posted at 10:41 AM July 26, 2010

    Adam may have made mistakes, but his tasted better. Plus he already had the points from knowing the spices/sauces in the basic skills test. I love how people always cry foul when the person they wanted to didn't win. Adam deserved to win. His approach to food is a lot more defined, individual and laid out then Callum. He is a great cook, but needs time to develop his skills a bit more. He has a great future, both he and Adam. Congrats to both of them!!

  • Neal of Cairns Posted at 10:40 AM July 26, 2010

    I agree with "love it from Qld". They got the right winner in the end. Callum didn't follow the recipe exactly and should be penalised for such. Adam's ice crystals were better too as was his egg. At the end of the day I didn't care who won so long as it wasn't Joanne. Ultimately provided they don't screw it up they are both set for very well paid careers, as will be most of the top 20 just like last year's contestants are now.

  • David Posted at 10:37 AM July 26, 2010

    Callum clearly made the best snow egg but scored lower what the hell was with that full rigged.

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