Justin Narayan, a 27-year-old first generation Australian with Indian and Fijian ancestry, has won the trophy at MasterChef Australia 13. The 2021 edition of the food reality show saw Narayan beat worthy finalists, Pete Campbell and Kishwar Chowdhury, to take home INR 1.86 crore. Narayan wrote on his Instagram handle, "Find people that believe in you. Back yourself. Go hard and hopefully you’ll surprise yourself! Whoever’s reading this I love you."
Narayan scored a perfect 40 on 40 for his squid dish that he made as a part of the final challenge where all three contestants had to cook Australian chef, Peter Gilmore's savoury dish from the Quay menu—shaved southern squid with koji butter and shiitake custard -- and golden crackle from his Bennelong menu for dessert.
With an overall score of 90, highest compared to Campbell, 89, and Chowdhury, 83, Narayan proved to be the winner this season. "I feel incredibly honoured and humbled to have that title and to be able to win this competition. I am genuinely going to take a week to process this," he said in his speech. He further appreciated his fellow finalists adding, "I would like to commend Kish and Pete for being the most incredible people to cook with. Kish, you are an incredible cook, and you should be so proud. Pete, I look up to you in so many ways. You are like my big brother, and I definitely wouldn't be here without your encouragement and support."
Narayan's journey, as defined by MCA on their official Instagram handle was "a rollercoaster of ups, downs, delicious food and a bromance for the ages."
Soon posts congratulating Narayan started pouring in. One of them from former MasterChef India judge and celebrity chef Kunal Kapur, mentioned, "Well done @justinnarayan! It was super fun and awesome watching your journey through MasterChef AU. Congratulations on this achievement."
Other chefs including, Saransh Goila, Sandeep Pandit, and Conor Curran also took to Instagram to congratulate Narayan on his remarkable victory.
Hailing from Perth, Western Australia, Narayan was a youth pastor before he entered MasterChef Australia. While he looks up to chefs such as Gaggan Anand and Gordon Ramsay, his biggest source of inspiration is his mother; she is hands-down the best cook he knows.
Narayan won hearts at the MasterChef Australia kitchen with his Indian and Fijian heritage-inspired cooking. Chicken curry, chicken tacos, charcoal chicken with toum, and pickle salad were some of the dishes with which he managed to surprise the MCA judges. He dreams of opening a food truck that would showcase the Indian flavours he grew up with; and share the profits to support children in the slums of India.
This is the second time an Indian-origin contestant has won the MCA Trophy, after Sashi Cheliah in 2018.