It’s been a solid competition and an excellent variation on the MasterChef theme (even if so few watched it), and full congratulations to Rhys for proving his mettle through the final series of challenges to be crowned winner of the series. A huge effort and a great result. From the press release:

Rhys Badcock was tonight crowned Australia’s first ever Professional MasterChef, with only two points separating him from fellow finalists Sarah Knights and Rhett Willis.

The laid-back chef, who splits his time between Byron Bay and Broome, takes home a $200,000 cash prize and a trip around the world to gain experience in some of the world’s best kitchens alongside the world’s best chefs. The two runners up will each be awarded with $10,000 cash to continue chasing their culinary

In three of the toughest challenges ever seen in the MasterChef: The Professionals kitchen, the finalists were set a David Chang Invention Test, a Marco Pierre White Pressure Test, and a Restaurant Service Challenge to cook for 120 of the toughest diners – chefs. Although Rhett had an early lead after the David Chang Invention Test in round one, round two saw the tables turn, when Marco Pierre White presented his leek and lobster terrine. But while the leeks got the better of Rhett and Sarah, Rhys’ terrine was an almost perfect attempt. It put him in prime position with a two-point advantage over Sarah and three points over Rhett heading into the final round, the Restaurant Service Challenge.

For Sarah, a smooth run in the kitchen came to a halt with dessert, when lack of organisation almost stopped service and cost her points. Rhett, proving himself as a head chef, sailed through the service challenge but was let down by the balance of flavours in his dessert. And while Rhys’ cooking with mates strategy almost cost him the crown, his solid leadership qualities in the kitchen saw him hold his lead, and scores from the judges took him to a total of 50 points, leaving Sarah and Rhett behind on 48.

For Rhys, it was an unbelievable ending to what had been an incredible ride. Inspired to audition by his friends and family, he entered MasterChef: The Professionals to challenge himself and learn new things.

From a troubled youth, he credits his mother and the kitchen for “pretty much saving my life”, and to now win the title of Australia’s first ever Professional MasterChef, having cooked alongside his fellow contestants, is an “honour”. “To travel around the world and cook in some of the world’s best restaurants is going to be amazing. I’m the winner, but we’re all winners.”

Rhys plans to use the prize money to buy an old car and go and see his mum in Western Australia, and invest in a restaurant.