South Australian Prison Officer Sashi Cheliah has won MasterChef Australia 2018.
The 39 year old won the title, $250,000 and a monthly column in Delicious after defeating Ben Borsht with the biggest grand final lead across 10 seasons: 93 points to 77.
Sashi dominated in Round One, a combined starter and main challenge, with Sambal Prawn & Fish Curry dishes, including three perfect 10s from the judges. But Ben’s crab starter lacked texture and he had issues with the fish batter on his main. At the end of the first round Sashi was well ahead with a 16 point lead.
The second round saw guest Heston Blumenthal enter to rock star adoration only to reveal a dastardly “Counting Sheep” dessert with meringue, panna cotta, ice-cream and more floating on white pillows. Former contestants and finalist families were in awe of the imaginative, elegant dish requiring a 4.5hr cook.
While Ben proved strong in round two ultimately it wasn’t enough to make up enough ground -both scored uniform 9s leaving Sashi with a massive win.
Singaporean-born Sashi had also been a series favourite winning two Immunity pins across the series.
“MasterChef has been an amazing ride for me. I never thought I would come this far in the competition and to win is icing on the cake. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the judges for their guidance and motivation, which has helped me develop into a better cook, and to Shannon who was a great mentor during the immunity challenges and Semi-Final.
“MasterChef has given me the opportunity to work with great chefs from around the world, and I have made great friends that will be cherished for the rest of my life, said Sashi.
“The overwhelming support from my fans and family has made me realise my potential, and it has motivated me to achieve great heights. My food dream is to start an Indian and South East Asian fusion restaurant, serving authentic food. I also want to work with ex-prisoners to provide assistance, rehabilitation and opportunities to obtain employment in the food industry.”
Ben received a $40,000 prize as runner-up while Khanh was awarded $10,000.
“I’ve had such an amazing experience on MasterChef Australia, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. Throughout the competition I’ve found such a passion for food, especially seafood and can’t wait to see where this new found passion leads me,” said Ben.
“The judges have guided me through thick and thin, and I truly appreciate everything they’ve done for me. My fellow contestants are all such talented, beautiful people that such an experience wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
The series has been a perennial hit for TEN, attracting strong ratings and has been renewed for 2019.