After just 10 short episodes, Australia’s first Dessert Master has been crowned.
Gareth Whitton, of Melbourne-based Tarts Anon fame, took home the title, beating out MasterChef Australia alumni Jess Liemantara and Reynold Poernomo in the process.
However, Gareth said he never expected to even make the finale.
“For me to come through at the end is unreal. It’s out of this world,” he said following the win.
“I couldn’t be happier to have been asked to be involved in the very first Dessert Masters, and to come out the other side with the chocolate makes it that much sweeter.
“I always knew that I was somewhat of an underdog coming into this competition, however, I knew that a few unique skills and years of tough restaurant work could be enough to shake things up.
“The relationships that I have made in this competition will stay with me forever. I have forged some professional and personal connections that have made this experience one of the most enjoyable and constructive in my career, and the inspiration and friendship my fellow contestants and the judges provided, has motivated me in ways that words can’t describe.”
The final showdown saw the three competitors pitted against each other in a challenge in which they had to plan, create and then serve a two-course menu that would satisfy 15 people. These dishes were also then judged by hosts Melissa Leong and Amaury Guichon.
Gareth’s creations – an elevated rhubarb tart with lemon verbena and pepperberry for the first course and wattleseed and chocolate mousse for the second – were both met with enthusiasm by the judges, earning him an overall score of 35 out of 40.
While judging Melissa praised Gareth for his smart and considered cooking, although pointed out the presentation could have been taken further.
The Dessert Masters competition was Gareth’s first foray into the MasterChef Australia world, besides a brief previous stint as a guest judge. The renowned pastry chef made his name working first at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal as well as Lune Croissanterie and his current role as executive pastry chef and director at Tarts Anon.
The first season of Dessert Masters saw 10 of Australia’s best pastry chefs, chocolatiers and dessert makers gather together to fight it out for the title of the nation’s first-ever Dessert Master. Entering the kitchen were well-known names such as Anna Polyviou, Kirsten Tibballs, Adriano Zumbo, Morgan Hipworth, Andy Bowdy, Kay-Lene Tan as well as the three finalists.
Gareth Whitton has been crowned the inaugural Dessert Winners champion. Image: MasterChefAu