The West

Brent claims MasterChef title
Matt Preton, Brent Owens, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan. Picture: Martin Philbey

Desserts were Victorian bobcat driver Brent Owens' weakness going into season six of MasterChef Australia.

But Owens' mastery at replicating a complex dish from celebrated Quay chef Peter Gilmore helped him to sweet victory over South Australia's Laura Cassai in last night's MasterChef Australia grand final on Ten.

Owens, 24, beat Cassai, 19 - the competition's youngest grand finalist - 83 points to 80 in a fiercely contested three-round culinary battle.

"Desserts were what I was weakest at going into the competition and I think I leave the competition with that being my strong suit, I worked so hard on it," Owens told Access All Areas.

The first round saw Owens and Cassai take turns selecting eight ingredients to fill an empty mystery box. Owens was two points up but slipped a point behind in the chef's table challenge after creating a Lancashire hot pot for judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris as well as his parents and girlfriend Madison.

"I had some real trouble with the potatoes, there was supposed to be a little potato galette to go over the top," he said. "I think I attempted it three times but I had to just ditch it because it didn't work."

Gilmore created the infamous snow egg for the final round of the season two finale of MasterChef and described the chocolate ethereal, a combination of two of his dishes, as being at least twice as hard.

"Peter Gilmore; when we watched him walking through the doors, my heart dropped and it was a bit scary," Owens confessed.

"But in saying that, when I had my family there I think I over-complicated everything. That was really tough to have them sitting there watching me trying to control my emotions; that was pretty difficult."

Owens won $250,000 cash (up from $100,000 last year), a cookbook deal, a car and work experience in some of Australia's best restaurants, while Cassai collected $20,000 as runner-up.

"I'm looking at opening a little cafe which distributes pre-prepared meals from it to the public that will vary to suit dietary requirements," Owens said of his long-term plan.

"Whether you are a body builder, looking for weight loss; something to cater for everybody but still focusing on flavour, which I think is the most important thing."

Owens' hair, described by Preston as a "samurai bun" attracted almost as much attention as his cooking but was never intended as a fashion statement.

"It's still there; it's more of a health and safety thing I think," he laughed.

"It's a little bit cleaner to have your hair tied up rather than dangling in your food."

The West Australian

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