Adam Liaw has been named the winner of the second series of MasterChef Australia, defeating Callum Hann to claim the top prize on Ten‘s hit cooking competition.
Liaw, 31, led from start to finish in the three rounds of the competition, sealing the deal by receiving nine out of ten from each of the judges for his dessert in the final round. Liaw scored 89 points out of the maximum one hundred on offer, ahead of Hann on 82.
Liaw will receive $100,000 and a cookbook deal as his prizes for winning the series.
An emotional Liaw was left stunned immediately after being declared the winner, saying that his emotions were dominated by “disbelief – it’s extraordinary”.
“I just can’t believe it. I’m sure I’ve fallen down some stairs and I’ll wake up in a hospital bed and it’s all a dream. It’s extraordinary. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy!
“Today I did everything I wanted to do and I’m just so happy.”
Liaw also had words of praise for Hann, saying that “if I was wearing a hat, I’d take it off to Callum”. He dedicated his win to his grandmother, Kwei-Eng Chew, whom he said had been “there for me throughout my entire life”.
Both contestants were highly commended for their respective performances throughout the finale, with one of the programme’s judges, George Calombaris, declaring that Hann would be a “superstar” despite having been trumped by Liaw in the finale.
Calombaris said that Hann would receive a three-month culinary scholarship at his restaurants in Melbourne, including the flagship The Press Club, and $10,000 to pay for his expenses.
“It’s an incredible offer,” said Hann, 20. ”And I’m so happy for Adam. I think he’s so deserving of winning the competition.
“We will be staying friends for a long time after this.”
Led from start to finish
Liaw performed strongly at the outset, establishing a lead in the first round when the two finalists were asked to identify various varieties of food including spices, fruits and sauces. Hann stumbled when presented with a series of sauces, allowing Liaw to move ahead by a small margin.
The second round was a dead heat, with Liaw retaining his first round lead after both contestants received marks of nine out of ten from each of the four judges.
Despite concerns about the ambitiousness of his choice of pork belly to showcase his cooking skills, Liaw attracted high praise for the final product and prompted George Calombaris described him a “legend”. But Hann proved to be Liaw’s match, with his three chicken dishes also receiving a resounding vote of approval from the panel of judges.
The final round, in which each contestant had to replicate a guava and custard apple snow egg by the guest chef Peter Gilmore, created problems for both contestants, with Hann accidentally dropping a sizeable chunk of his granita and Liaw struggling to manage the delicate biscuit component of the snow egg.
But the judges lavished praise on both contestants when it came to the end result. Hann received 33 out of 40 for his dessert, while Liaw secured victory by scoring 36 out of 40 for his.
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Cyril Washbrook July 25th 2010