A nation is spellbound as Adam Liaw wins the title of MasterChef Australia.
Nearly four million viewers watched Adam Liaw win MasterChef Australia 2010.
TEN averaged 3.96 million viewers last night, higher than the 3.74m figure it netted in 2009, making it the third highest television program behind Lleyton Hewitt's Australian Open final and the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
The staggering figure makes it the highest-rated non-sports show since OzTAM ratings started in 2000.
Adding in regional viewers it averaged 5.2m viewers and a peak of 5.74m. All for a cooking show that many said could never hope to replace Big Brother.
Adam Liaw, the 31-year-old lawyer from Adelaide, defeated his fellow South Australian, Callum Hann, 20, with a score of 89 points to 82.
The young Hann put up a spectacular fight against his more experienced team-mate, but couldn't quite match his quality or his calm demeanour. Fellow contestants cheered as they battled through three rounds before the judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and guest judge Matt Moran.
"I just can't believe it," says a tearful Adam, 31, from Adelaide. "I'm sure I've fallen down some stairs and I'll wake up in a hospital bed and it's all a dream. It's extraordinary. I don't think I've ever been this happy!
"Today I did everything I wanted to do and I'm just so happy."
Liaw dedicated his win to his grandmother, who joined with his girlfriend of two years Asami Fujitsuka, dad Sia-Lin and his partner Tee-Lee in celebrating his win.
"She's been there for me throughout my entire life and she's been a huge influence not just in my cooking but in everything," he said.
"It's been like a This Is Your Life moment when the whole family walks through the door. It's great to be able to share this with them."
The young Hann didn't walk away a loser with the country captivated by his stunning ability. George Calombaris offered him a three-month apprenticeship at his Melbourne restaurants, including two-chef-hatted restaurant The Press Club.
"It's an incredible offer," says Callum. "And I'm so happy for Adam. I think he's so deserving of winning the competition. We will be staying friends for a long time after this."
Liaw wins a publishing deal and $100,000 for winning the series as well as opportunities to work with some of the country's leading chefs.
But the attention of the nation will open even more doors for him.
"To all the viewers, the biggest thank you in the world," says Adam. "It's a great feeling to know that there have been literally millions of people cheering me on. Thank you."
TEN's success with the series has been phenomenal with bigger ratings for 2010 and far more media attention. It will now showcase talented children cooking for Junior MasterChef Australia following the Commonwealth Games in October.
They look like they will give Adam and Callum a run for their money.