MasterChef queen eyes UK
MASTERCHEF winner Billie McKay may be Australia’s newest reality TV queen, but fans should expect her to be off the celebrity radar for up to two years as she prepares to fly out to the UK and a job with Heston Blumenthal.
The 24- year- old Ballina restaurant manager and boyfriend Haydn Suridge ( pictured) have already secured work visas for the food adventure ahead and are preparing to jet out in the “next couple of months”.
“Still in disbelief” over her two- point win over Brisbane sales representative Georgia Barnes, the humble victor was pinching herself about her good fortune – winning a $ 250,000 cash prize, a car, a 12- month column contract with Delicious magazine and, in the biggest surprise of the night, a job offer by Blumenthal to work at his famed eatery, The Fat Duck.
“It’s such a cool thing to come out of it,” McKay said. ” I never, ever thought I would be offered something like that when I signed up.”
Encouraged to apply for MasterChef by her boyfriend of three years, it seems only fitting that Suridge gets to enjoy the spoils of victory – quitting his job as an assistant bar manager last month so the pair can travel and work together overseas.
“Haydn really pushed me to do ( MasterChef). I saw the ads on TV and thought about applying and he said, ‘ You should apply’. I didn’t and missed the ( first) deadline. The last lot of application rounds came up
and he said, ‘ Do it! What have you got to lose? You either get rejected and you keep going, or you get a chance at doing it.’ So I did and it was worth it.”
While they haven’t packed their bags just yet, McKay confirmed they plan on departing for Britain “in the next couple of months ... it’s all very exciting”.
“We’ve organised visas and getting that sort of stuff done. We’re both going to be working over there for a couple of years. He’s going to look for work in hospitality as well … pub work, that sort of thing that you do over there in the UK. I’m really looking forward to it and so is Haydn, it’s a really great thing to come out of it.”
Blumenthal was left gobsmacked by McKay’s cool performance in the pressurecooker environment of the grand final, tackling all three challenges with focus and nerves of steel.
Superstar chef Blumenthal admits the job offer “was totally spontaneous, it was a gut feeling on the day”.
“I’m not sure if she wants to pursue a career in a professional kitchen, I just felt it would be a good idea for her to explore,” he said.