Masterchef

Ben Borsht crowned runner-up in MasterChef Australia 2018

'I never imagined I would be standing there at the end!'

Ben Borsht was crowned the runner-up in tonight's MasterChef Australia grand finale!

After getting off to a rocky start, Ben placed second to Sashi Cheliah with a total of 77 out of 100, to his 93 out of 100.

Ben says he couldn't believe he made it all the way to the finale.

"I never imagined I would be standing there at the end. It was really exciting and nerve-wracking, but completely and utterly unbelievable," he tells TV WEEK.

The first round saw Ben and Sashi create a starter and a main dish in a 90-minute time period. The contestants were able to choose two 'hero' ingredients for their dishes, from a selection of ingredients hand-picked for their culinary tastes and talents. Naturally, Ben chose to work with fish.

Sashi and Ben faced a complicated challenge!
Sashi and Ben faced a complicated challenge!

Despite making mistakes while creating his round one dishes - blue swimmer crab and battered whiting - Ben says he is happy with his result.

Scoring just 41 against Sashi's 57, Ben went in to the second round 16 points behind.

"That didn't really sort of worry me," Ben reveals. "They're just scores and anything can happen in the MasterChef kitchen. It really was like that! Being so far behind, I was prepared for it. It was a little bit surprising that [the gap] was that big."

In the second round, the contestants recreated Heston Blumenthal's 'counting sheep' dish in a pressure test.

The dish consisted of light malt meringue pillows with milk ice cream inside, to remind them of the lightness you feel before you fall asleep. It was also made up of coconut ice-cream, steamed sponge, panna cotta, lychee gel, earl grey caramel, coriander yoghurt and yoghurt snow.

The complicated dish involved 19 elements and more than 80 ingredients, with the contestants being given five and a half hours to complete the task.

Ben says he was excited to recreate Heston's dish, calling it "mind-boggling."

"I was pretty excited. I loved the pressure tests and thrived in that situation, but it was pretty mind boggling what he had on the plate. It was just bizarre, but fantastic!"

Both contestants received praise from the judges for their dishes, each receiving a score of 36 out of 40 for the round.

Ben says he was "happy" to lose out to Sashi, who landed the highest-ever finale score in the show's history with 93 out of 100.

"I was elated just to be standing next to Sashi, and I was so happy for him," he says.

"He really deserved it and he worked his butt off for it, and his family are beautiful and I couldn't imagine it happening to a better guy.

"Once the scores went up from the first round, we sort of knew. I had it in my mind that I was going to happen, and I was prepared for it. I was so happy for him."

Congratulations to both Ben and Sashi on their incredible performance in the MasterChef Australia grand finale!

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