Julie Goodwin wins highest rating reality show to become Australia's first MasterChef

After a tight two hour finale, Australia has its very first MasterChef.

38-year-old Julie Goodwin defeated 35-year-old Poh Ling Yeow winning three out of three cooking challenges in the finale.

The night unfolded with a Taste Test, Invention Test and Pressure Test including guest appearances from Curtis Stone and Matt Moran.

An ecstatic Julie said: "I don't know if I can describe it. I feel happy.

"I'd like to open a little restaurant on the central coast that people love to come to, and come back to. Good unpretentious food. A warm and welcoming place that people love to be in. When people leave my restaurant I want them to feel loved."

She wins $100,000, a publishing deal and opportunities to learn at top Australian restaurants.

For Goodwin, it was a decisive win but she has not been without her shortcomings. Last week she barely scraped through several finals, seemingly having nine lives.

Under constant pressure she had been a nervous, if skilled, cook. In the final she stuck to her discipline while Poh's bold style veered from the recipe supplied in the Pressure Test.

Judge Gary Mehigan said: "When you change the universe there is a small corner that you start from and that's yourself. You've changed me Julie. You started with yourself and you changed us.

"You're on an upward journey. You are Australia's first ever MasterChef."

Poh Ling Yeow was not forgotten in the victory, having made a furious comeback after already being eliminated earlier in the series.

Matt Preston said, "When you put food on the plate you actually take us on a journey to your past, your heritage. It's been fantastic."

Curtis Stone invited her to spend a week in Los Angeles, learning alongside him -- a brilliant consolation prize.

The finale took a massive 3.74 million viewers around the country, the third highest show since the introduction of OzTAM ratings people meters and eclipsing the 3.35 million who watched Casey Donovan beat Anthony Callea for 2004's Australian Idol. It is a staggering triumph for TEN.

MasterChef Australia has been a blazing success for Channel TEN, attracting bumper ratings, a string of media articles and enormous goodwill from viewers. Last week it helped TEN win its first ratings week in three years, and the second in eight years.

Next year the show is expected to mount a live, stadium-style finale. Auditions for the next series are now open at the MasterChef website.

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