Malaysian-born Diana Chan Wins MasterChef Australia 2017

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Another Malaysian has done the nation proud by bagging the coveted 2017 MasterChef Australia trophy by a whisker.

Malaysian-born Diana Chan was crowned Masterchef Australia 2017 after a nail-biting finale on Monday night.

The Melbourne-based cook beat Ben Ungermann in the closely fought final, receiving a total of 90 out of 100 points and piping her rival by one point.

She won a trophy, A$250,000 (RM848,642) and a monthly column in food magazine Delicious.

Chan, 29, grew up in Johor Baru before moving to Kuala Lumpur in her late teens. She moved to Australia when she was 19. She currently works as an accountant in Victoria.

Her parents – both good cooks – were instrumental in developing her interest in cooking.

Among the dishes that Chan created that vowed the judges was the Malaysian-inspired oatmeal prawns with vegetables in a creamy sauce.

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Chan hopes to open a “fresh and casual” restaurant that embraces fusion flavours in Melbourne with the prize money. She was quoted as saying: “I definitely want to have Malaysian influences. But balanced, wholesome and delicious – that’s my criteria.”

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph just hours after her victory, Chan said she has already had several offers knocking on her door.

“I have been inundated with amazing opportunities and it’s time for me to take some time out and filter through them to make sure I pick one that matches my goals,’ she said.

“I can’t believe this is happening.

“It’s something I always dreamed of but never thought would happen,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

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, she revealed 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.

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.

Chan is the second Malaysian to win MasterChef Australia, after Adam Liaw, who was born in Penang, won in Season 2 in 2010.