Ballina's Billie crowned MasterChef, takes up UK job offer
IN what has been called by food critic Matt Preston as "the greatest comeback ever seen in MasterChef history", Ballina's Billie McKay has been crowned Australia's MasterChef 2015.
Trailing by four points behind finalist Georgia in the first two rounds of the grand final, Ms McKay had to excel at the biggest pressure test ever devised for the food-lovers TV series.
Chef Heston Blumenthal presented the "most wicked and difficult pressure test dish in the history of MasterChef", Heston's 'Botrytis Cinerea' from his UK restaurant The Fat Duck, a 55-step, 17 element, five-hour monstrosity of a recipe.
There were 40 points to be won in the final test.
Once again Ms McKay showed the resilience, poise and calm that was her trademark during season seven of MasterChef.
"I am stoked I got there, I really didn't think I would," she said.
"It felt quite unachievable, really, coming back from four points behind, but I somehow managed to do that, so I am really, really stoked."
The new MasterChef winner said behind her calm manner she felt the pressure of the grand final.
"I think I must be pretty good at not showing it because, really, underneath I felt really stressed and quite overwhelmed," she said.
"It's a skill I might take with me."
Still overwhelmed after the win, Billie confirmed she has taken Chef Heston Blumenthal's surprise offer of a job at his UK restaurant The Fat Duck.
Billie McKay will be flying to the UK with her partner Haydn to work with Heston Blumenthal.
"It will be in the next couple of months. I'll be leaving (Ballina) and Haydn is coming with me."
"We'll be setting up over there for a little while."
Ms McKay has lived in Ballina for two-and a half years after meeting Haydn.