After an entertaining and heartwarming season, the winner of ‘Junior MasterChef Australia’ has been crowned.
Georgia, 11, took out the title and $25,000 prize money during Monday night’s grand final, with Filo and Carter finishing as runners-up and receiving $5,000 each.
“I’m so surprised. From the beginning my goal was just to make it past the first week,” Georgia said after learning she had won the competition. “To win this competition was such a surprise.”
The three young cooks were required to create a main meal and dessert across two rounds in a bid to impress judges Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Jock Zonfrillo, as well as surprise guests, their mums.
Proud of her Sri Lankan heritage, Georgia cooked a pork curry, cashew curry, eggplant curry, plus yellow rice, pappadums and cucumber raita for her main.
Her dessert, which she named ‘Tropical Mess’ had five elements: toasted coconut ice cream, brown bread crumb, Davidson plum pearls, Davidson plum meringues and a lemongrass granita.
After winning, Georgia said she’s not too sure what she’ll do with the $25,000 prize money, but she will definitely use it for something fun and food-related.
“I’ll have access to it when I’m 18 so I have seven years to think about it,” she said. “I’m thinking travel and starting a food stall.”
Her advice for other kids keen to audition for ‘Junior MasterChef’ was just to “go for it”.
“If your passion is cooking, JMC is a great way to express your love of cooking. Be prepared to have fun and work hard!”
Georgia has previously credited her grandmother for teaching her to cook.
“I’m very close to my Nanna and my Papa,” Georgia said on the Channel 10 reality show, explaining she’s also learnt to make dishes that reflect her cultural heritage.
“They’re both Sri Lankan. My Nanna taught me how to make lots of different Sri Lankan food.”
In an Instagram post, the show’s judge Melissa Leong drew a connection between Georgia’s victory and US vice-president elect Kamala Harris’s moving speech made over the weekend.
“In the same week that the incredible @kamalaharris said of her rise to VP elect ‘Every little girl that’s watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities’ ...over here in this corner of the world, our very own little girl showed us all what’s possible,” wrote Melissa.
The food critic commended Georgia for “already out-classing kids twice your age in wisdom” and for her “self possession and grace (and obviously culinary talent)”.
“I am in awe of everything you bring to the table, and I am just so goddamn hopeful with you as our future. Congratulations little one, you did it!” she said.
Meanwhile Filo, who grew up in Egypt before moving to Australia when he was eight, is also very proud of cooking food that reflects his cultural heritage.
The 12-year-old from Victoria cooked fried shrimp and spicy rice, with fried parsnip with creamy garlic ginger sauce. He said it was his mother Nermeen who passed on his grandfather’s recipe for the rice.
His dessert was a hazelnut cake coated in chocolate hazelnut mousse, glazed in a chocolate mirror glaze with a crumb and a strawberry sorbet.
Carter, also 12, cooked charcoal-crusted lamb back strap with three purees: pea puree, cauliflower and leek puree and a black garlic puree, plus a mint oil and a jus to serve. His dessert was a vanilla bean panna cotta with raspberry and pomegranate sorbet, pomegranate beads, raspberry and chocolate shards and chocolate soil.
Never miss a thing. Sign up to HuffPost Australia’s weekly newsletter for the latest news, exclusives and guides to achieving the good life.