The first winner of MasterChef New Zealand has described the experience as "intense" and says he can't believe he won.
Brett McGregor was crowned champion last night in the finale of the TV ONE show after 13 gruelling weeks.
The Grand Final whittled an original 1000 ambitious amateur cooks down to a tense two hour showdown between the finalists.
Brett, who was clearly overcome at winning, said: "I have to thank (the judges), I have to thank (the contestants), I have to thank Kelly, my family, all the support at home and everything like that. It's just been such an intense time, it's quite unreal, I can't really believe what's just happened, so I think it's going to take a little bit to settle in.
"It feels really brilliant; it's been an absolutely turbulent time."
Runner-up Kelly Young agrees that it has been an incredible journey.
"It's been amazing, an absolutely amazing journey. I've had highs, I've had some lows as well and (the judges) have inspired me, (the contestants) have all inspired me. It's opened up my eyes to the industry and shown me how much I really have the passion to keep it going, and this is me. So you'll be seeing more of me that's for sure," she said.
Brett and fellow finalist Kelly faced their ultimate challenge last night - a test of their knowledge, skill and all-round cooking ability.
They were challenged with four gruelling trials and 100 points up for grabs.
Challenge one was a taste test. The two finalist had to identify the 20 ingredients in a minestrone soup, with Kelly narrowly beating Brett 12 points to 13.
Challenge two was a lamb invention test. They had 90 minutes to create a dish using any cut of lamb and 10 other ingredients. Despite re-plating his dish with just two minutes to go, Brett scored 34 and Kelly scored 28.
Challenge three tested their sausage-making skills, with Kelly securing eight points to Brett's nine.
In a challenge that would have some professional chefs quaking, the final test was to make a traditional French profiterole cone called a croquembouche.
The whole competition rested on the last score of the fourth challenge. But despite Kelly winning 24 points and Brett 20 points, Brett had the most points overall.
Judges Ross Burden, Simon Gault and Ray McVinnie crowned him first ever MasterChef New Zealand.
As well as the title, Brett wins over $100,000 worth of prizes, including a Toyota Prius i-tech car, state-of-the-art Fisher and Paykel Izona appliances, a range of kitchenware from Stevens and an exclusive cookbook deal with Random House.
He will also appear in an upcoming commercial for major sponsor Countdown.
Last night, TVNZ also confirmed the commission of a second series of MasterChef New Zealand made by Imagination Television for TV ONE due in early 2011.
"We are delighted to have brought TV ONE viewers a high quality locally produced version of the hit MasterChef series. The series will be back by popular demand next year with thousands of new hopefuls competing to earn the prestigious title MasterChef New Zealand 2011," says Jeff Latch, head of TV ONE and TV2.
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