With its massive global viewer base, MasterChef Australia is a show that needs no introduction. Fijian-Indian origin Justin Narayan won the 13th season of the famous show defeating his rivals, Kishwar Chowdhury and Pete Campbell, in the finale. Read on to know more about Justin Narayan and his incredible performance at MasterChef Australia that made him come out on top.
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Who is Justin Narayan?
Coming from a Fijian-Indian family, Justin Narayan lives in Perth and is a first-generation Australian and Fijian-Indian. A pastor by profession, Justin got inclined towards cooking at an early age when he was inspired by the rich cuisines of his Indian as well as Fijian heritage. The 27-year-old MasterChef Australia Season 13 Winner amazed the judges with marvellous dishes from flatbread, chicken tacos and charcoal chicken with toum to pickle salad and chicken curry, heavily inspired by the land of spices, India. Narayan cooked his mother’s recipe for poached snapped in an episode that left all the judges in awe of his cooking and Indian inspiration! He describes his MasterChef Australia journey as “100 per cent one of the best experiences” he has ever had in his life.
“I like being able to be versatile, and I like cooking different cuisines.”
The MasterChef Journey
Narayan’s MasterChef journey was a true rollercoaster as he initially struggled to come out of his comfort zone and even with complicated kitchen tools. The judges gave him the last chance to work on his cooking and do the homework needed. Soon he realised that he needs to find his own style of cooking, and that’s when the breakthrough came. He turned his cooking around by looking for inspiration in his childhood memories and where his passion for cooking actually began. He came back with a bang with dishes like roasted pumpkin that left the judges impressed!
He found a big brother in Pete Campbell as the two chefs became good friends during the season. They supported each other throughout the journey as they reached the season finale together. But after a long 5-hour challenge, Justin Narayan came out a star winning the season with $250,000 (₹1.86 crore approximately) with his outstanding cooking rooted in inspirational memories of his childhood and cultural heritage!
The Grand Finale
Kishwar, Pete and Justin faced an epic, five-hour challenge designed by Peter Gilmore. Justin Narayan made India proud with his extraordinary culinary skills and lifted the MasterChef Australia trophy beating the two finalists, Kishwar Chowdhury and Pete Campbell, in the last round, the Pressure Test.
In the first round, guests chefs entered with a special ingredient in a mystery box for contestants. Kishwar got white soy sauce and needed to use smoke in her technique. Justin got grapefruit as the ingredient and fusion style of cooking. Pete got Quince and was supposed to use the steam method in his cook. For round 1, Justin Narayan cooked Passion fruit glazed duck with pickled kohlrabi and pine mushrooms. MasterChef Australia judges scored them as Pete – 28, Justin – 21 and Kishwar – 21.
In the second round, Justin Narayan made his mother’s fish curry with a twist and Poached snapper in an Australian native broth. All the finalists scored 25, 29 and 30 respectively in the second round.
In the last round, the participants cooked a savoury dish from the Quay menu and another from the Bennelong menu. It was an unbelievable moment for Justin Narayan when his squid preparation gained a perfect score of 40/40, along with 35 points for the dessert, which ensured his victory by a margin of one point. Pete confirmed the first runner up position, while Kishwar placed as the second runner up.
The judges of this season of the MasterChef Australia were the famous Australian chef Andy Allen, Australian food writer and TV host Melissa Leong and Scottish celebrity chef Jack Zonfrillo.
The Big Win
Justin Narayan received huge prize money of $250,000 (₹1.86 crores). He aspires to commence his restaurant and pay tribute to Indian flavours. He also wishes to donate a part of his win to aid slum dwellers in India.
“Find people that believe in you. Back yourself. Go hard, and hopefully, you’ll surprise yourself! Whoever’s reading this, I love you. I just won MasterChef Season 13, 2021. What the actual heck? It’s a surreal feeling. It’s going to take a while to sink in. I’m keen to party with these guys, but a huge thank you to the judges, the other contestants – Pete, Kishwar. This has just been the best experience of my entire life, and my mind is blown.”
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Here’s all you need to know about the second Indian origin MasterChef Australia winner, Justin Narayan who has left his mark across the globe by displaying his spectacular culinary skills. A pastor by profession, he was able to turn his dreams into reality. Want to study Culinary Arts abroad? Sign up for a free session with our Leverage Edu counsellors and we’ll help you find the best course and university to carve your dream career!