Diana Chan has taken home the 2017 MasterChef crown in a surprise nail-biting finish that came down to just one point.
The Melbourne-based cook sailed through the first two challenges with a comfortable lead, but in the final round rival Ben Ungermann managed to close the gap.
The former model and father of three was ultimately let down by his earlier plating skills and an untimely cut to his finger.
Chan's victory means she wins $250,000 in prizemoney and is one step closer to achieving her dream of opening a "fresh and casual" restaurant in inner Melbourne. She told Fairfax Media she never thought she'd get so far in the competition, let alone take home the top prize.
"It's something I always dreamed of but never thought would happen," she said.
Chan said her secret weapon was her ability to remain calm – even when the judges questioned her decisions or things went awry.
"I reminded myself that there was no point panicking," she said. "I believe I handled the pressure pretty well. I do my best when I'm calm and confident." However the hopeful restauranteur did reveal that the final challenge was the one that almost broke her. For six gruelling hours, Chan and Ungermann had to recreate a dessert by world champion chocolatier Kirsten Tibballs.
The dish was a series of faux fruits that, when cut open, oozed apple sauce and salted caramel. Chan had trouble assembling the complex elements, and broke her pear's stem with just seconds left on the clock.
"Doing that cook was the most stressful situation I've ever been in in my life," she said. "By the end, it was just all waterworks."
Chan said after seven months in front of the cameras, she's now knuckling down to make sure her dream of opening a restaurant becomes a reality. She said fans could expect to purchase fast, "wholesome meals" that embrace fusion flavours.
"I definitely want to have Malaysian influences," she said. "But balanced, wholesome and delicious – that's my criteria."