MasterChef New Zealand has crowned its champion for 2022!
Auckland coffee trainer/consultant Sam Low, aged 30, claimed the title over fellow Auckland contestant, 28-year-old Elliot McClymont, with just one point deciding the winner in the grand finale episode.
Sam Low wowed judges Nadia Lim, Vaughan Mabee and Michael P Dearth with his three-course modern Chinese menu, which combined New Zealand ingredients with a modern Asian twist.
Sam’s winning three-course menu consisted of a Paua Congee entree; a savoury rice porridge w/ seared paua, paua XO sauce, century egg puree and dill. The meal scored 25 points, one behind his competitor Elliot who had served a British-inspired chicken liver parfait
This was followed by a Steamed Blue Cod main served with braised daikon, sea lettuce, ginger & spring onion relish, soy milk emulsion, and charred spring onion oil served with dashi oolong tea rice. Sam's meal was tied in points with Elliot's Sri Lankan prawn curry, both scoring 27 from the judg.es
Sam titled his final dish a 'Sea Dessert', with a kombu seaweed ice cream, nori meringue, matcha tea steamed cake, cocoa nibs, marinated fruit, jasmine tea and sesame leaf granita.
It was the final dessert that saw Sam score a perfect 30 from the judges, to take out the title.
Judge and former MasterChef winner, Nadia Lim, called Sam's dessert "weirdly wonderful", and dubbed it one of the best dishes she had tasted in this year's competition. It marked a full circle moment in Sam's journey who had said desserts were his weakest point in cooking.
On taking out the title, Sam said he is feeling incredibly blessed: “As funny as it sounds, going through MasterChef NZ was my coming of age moment, feeling proud of who I am, the type of food I cooked and the people I was able to share those stories with has meant I can mark a full stop on the thoughts of “If I am enough” and move onto the next chapter in my life.”
Runner-up Elliot gave Sam a good run for his money right to the end and said: “There is no competitor I would have rather gone up against. We have such different cooking styles and have learnt so much from one another on our Masterchef NZ journey."
Apart from the coveted title of MasterChef New Zealand 2022, Sam also wins a cookbook deal from Allen and Unwin, six months of groceries from New World, $6000 worth of NEFF appliances and a Kenwood Chef Patissier XL Stand Mixer.