On the season finale of MasterChef, 33-year-old Shaun O’Neale beat the competition to take the crown, along with a book deal and a quarter-million dollars.
O’Neale succeeded throughout the contest by taking big risks with his dishes. He dedicated his victory to the memory of his father, who died several years ago.
At the start of the two-hour finale, the final three contestants were shown taking trips home, where they got some extra inspiration from their family and friends.
When they returned to the MasterChef kitchen, they were joined by celebrity chefs Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck, who were evaluating the dishes along with regular judges Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi.
O’Neale struggled in the first round with his appetizer — a miso halibut cheek with a carrot purée — which the judges thought was underwhelming despite the visual presentation and the complexity of the dish.
However, in what O’Neale considered a do-or-die situation, he pulled through in the next round with his venison entrée, and locked up his victory with a salted-caramel dark-chocolate tart in the final round.
Watch Gordon Ramsay’s face get flambéed on MasterChef.