Tears were shed and emotions ran high in last night's MasterChef elimination challenge as 19-year-old *Emma O'Shaughnessy *went head-to-head with her closest friend in the cooking competition, tortilla whiz *Ben Milbourne *.
Fighting back tears, an emotional O'Shaughnessy, below, told _AAA _that she was "heartbroken" having to compete against the 30-year-old Tasmanian teacher.
"It was really hard; it was the hardest part of the competition for me by a long shot," she said. "I just couldn't separate the competition from my friendship."
But the emotionally-charged cook-off got off to a controversial start when Milbourne threatened to withdraw from the competition in order to keep O'Shaughnessy safe.
"It was so lovely and so sweet, probably the nicest gesture anyone has ever made for me," a teary O'Shaughnessy said. "But the judges said unfortunately in order for it to be fair, I'd still need to cook off. So we both decided that instead of letting someone else have to cook-off, we'd cook against each other."
The close- knit duo then had the challenge of whipping up a layered-cake dessert in just 90 minutes, but it was Milbourne's creation that judges picked as the better tasting of the two.
O'Shaughnessy, who has been known for her outbursts throughout the series, said she wasn't focused heading into the cook-off and admitted it was her undoing.
"I was so frazzled by the fact I was cooking against Ben that I couldn't do the best job possible. It was a horrible situation," she said.
Though it was hard for the young Adelaide cook to farewell Milbourne - who surprised fellow contenders by shedding a few tears himself - she was thankful to have been a part of the MasterChef experience.
"It's not the end of the world that I've been eliminated," she said. "I've made such great friends, such as Ben, and I'm young so I've got so many opportunities to go out and follow my dreams."
Despite recent suggestions that Milbourne and O'Shaughnessy were romantically linked on the show, the 19-year-old insisted the two were "like family".
"No, honestly, not at all," she laughed, when asked if they were more than friends. "He's like my big brother." O'Shaughnessy, left, now plans to open her own dessert cart business. MasterChef Australia airs today at 7pm on Ten.
- VANESSA WILLIAMS *