It was the toughest cook-off in MasterChef history, with the toughest dish: Heston Blumenthal’s grape-inspired botrytis cinerea. In a Pressure Test that would have made most grown chefs cry, both Billie and Georgia proved their title credentials. But there could only be one winner, and it was the 24-year-old former restaurant manager from Ballina who emerged victorious.
Coming from behind to win by the slimmest of margins, 82 points to 80, it was Billie’s remarkably composed Pressure Test performance that got her over the line in style.
Exhibiting exceptional poise and technique, Billie made her way, step-by-complex-step, through Heston’s eye-poppingly elaborate masterpiece. So impressed was its creator that he offered Billie a job as guest chef at his legendary UK restaurant The Fat Duck.
“What an incredible series. It was such a tough competition. Offering Billie a job was totally spontaneous, it was a gut feeling on the day,” Heston reflected. “It was the way she considered everything methodically through the final and the speed and the way she moved round her kitchen and her work. If she was panicking at all, her body language didn’t show it. A real attribute in the thick of service, I’m not sure if she wants to pursue a career in a professional kitchen, I just felt it would be a good idea for her to explore.”
Billie adds the job offer of a lifetime to a prize of $250,000, an Alfa Romeo Giulietta and a monthly column in Australia’s leading premium food magazine, Delicious. Not to mention the coveted title of MasterChef Australia 2015.
“The whole MasterChef Australia experience has been the biggest learning curve of my life. I owe a lot to Gary, George and Matt, I can’t thank them enough. I’m completely blown away to have been offered a job with Heston. I would never have dreamt at the start of the competition that was even a vague possibility. From Ballina to Bray, who would have thought,” Billie said.
“My biggest thanks must go to my mum and dad, my partner Hadyn and my sisters Georgie, Rosie, Frankie and brother Joe. They always had positive support for me, believed I could do it and that helped me believe it too.”