MasterChef queen eyes UK

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE - HOLLY BYRNES

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.

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