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MasterChef Australia winner 2015: Billie McKay triumphs in tense finale against Georgia Barnes!

 MasterChef 2015 was the year of crazy desserts and culinary creativity, dominated by a bunch of exceedingly talented young people – most of them 20-something women – who gave some of the world's most feted chefs a run for their money.

But as well as a beautifully plated dish and tough competition, MasterChef also loves a fable.

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George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and Heston Blumenthal with MasterChef 2015 winner Billie McKay. Photo: Supplied

As 23-year-old winner Billie McKay came to terms with her dramatic win in arguably the most tense finale since the juggernaut's first in 2009, she recalled that she and runner-up Georgia Barnes only made it into the competition when judge George Calombaris threw them a lifeline in the second round of auditions.

"It was lucky now that I think of it," McKay told Fairfax Media with evident understatement.

On Monday night she discovered an additional "gift" in her already significant once-a-lifetime prize of $250,000, a car and a regular column in a national food magazine.

Billie's big comeback: now she's off to work in Heston's restaurant in Britain. Billie's big comeback: now she's off to work in Heston's restaurant in Britain. Photo: Supplied

Having scored an impressive nine out of 10 from the culinary world's mad hatter, Heston Blumenthal, after replicating one of his ridiculously complicated and playful dishes, McKay learnt that she had a job at Blumenthal's feted Fat Duck restaurant in Britain.

"It's crazy, it's the best opportunity I've ever had really," she says. "I thought I'd learnt so much out of this experience; how can it get any better and then it did, a job offer. It's happening fast, but I'm loving it".

McKay and her boyfriend plan to leave Australia in the next few months to embark on the next stage of her "food journey". Ironically, though perhaps a sign of the changes that are sweeping the food industry, she will undergo an apprenticeship after showing she has the smarts, creativity and craft to beat others in the competitive cook-off.

Ultimately, though, McKay's dream is to open a country restaurant that will honour her roots on a dairy farm in northern NSW.

Though MasterChef filming finished several weeks ago, McKay says she hasn't had a chance to think about how she'll use the money. "But obviously it's going to be handy in setting us up [in Britain] working at the Fat Duck and one day opening my own place.

"Regardless of whether I won or not, I've always wanted to do it so that's high on my agenda".

Those watching the show won't be surprised to learn that McKay credits her success on her single-minded focus, as well as a few strokes of luck.

"I focused on one thing (in the MasterChef house), read all the books I had, was thinking of memories I had as a kid and thinking of dishes that reflect that. I discovered how much fun that is. Once you're focused it's easy to start learning so quick".

Georgia Barnes, the runner-up whose plucky personality seems to have divided audiences into two camps – those who were charmed by her goofiness and modesty and those who grew tired of her teary self-doubts – will no doubt also reap much from her TV baptism.

As well as $20,000 and the experience, a TV show would seem to beckon the vivacious Queenslander.

"I loved that we could both be part of that finale together", says McKay, adding that the pair has been in close contact since filming ended and are good friends.

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