Former Home And Away star Debra Lawrance walked away as the winner of Hell’s Kitchen Australia after a gruelling finale last night.
The 60-year-old battled against Geordie Shore’s Gary ‘Gaz’ Beadle to take out the winner’s title and win $50,000 to donate to her chosen charity.
As Debra was announced as the winner, the actress was overcome with tears.
“It was amazing. I was exhausted,” Debra tells TV WEEK.
“It’s a bit overwhelming. It had been such a long journey, that’s why I got a bit emotional about it.”
After Marco crowned Debra the winner, she selflessly announced that she wanted to split half of her $50,000 with Gaz, to be donated to his charity.
“It was spur of the moment,” Deb says of her gesture.
“I absolutely believe Gaz would have done exactly the same. We were [the] blue team, it was a blue team win. His charity was just as worthy.”
The Hell’s Kitchen journey was not an easy one and Debra describes the 16-hour days, six days a week filming as a “challenge” but one she undertook in her friend’s memory.
The mother-of-two chose Ovarian Cancer Australia as her charity because she lost a close friend to the awful disease only last year.
“A very dear mate of mine passed away with this last year [ovarian cancer] and was living in New Zealand and I saw her a couple of weeks before she went and it was very special meeting,” Deb recalls.
“I picked up a rock form the beach after I’d seen her and posted it last night because I had the rock in my pocket the whole time I was on Hell’s Kitchen as a sort of talisman or a token.”
Debra says that her friend’s passing pushed her to sign up for Hell’s Kitchen Australia.
“[Her death] was a big part of the reason I came on board to do reality TV, the first was because it was Marco Pierre White and the second was because it was raising money for charity and it was a no brainer to choose Ovarian Cancer Australia because they do extraordinary work,” Debra says.
Now that her journey on the series has ended, Deb says that she has come away with some lifelong friends and improved cooking skills.
“I think we’re all bonded for life. Well most of us, are bonded for life.”