It was a fierce battle in the season 4 finale of "MasterChef". The one-hour episode aired on Wednesday, September 10 pitted stay at home mom Natasha Crnjac and restaurant manager Luca Manfe for the grand prize of $250,000, a cookbook and the title of the best home cook in America.
Tasked to cook a three course dinner, Natasha served pan-seared scallops for her appetizer, five-spice monkfish for entree, and coconut panacotta along with a lime panna cotta for dessert. Luca, meanwhile, cooked pan-seared duck liver, short ribs in a pressure cooker and panna cotta, sweet tomato jam and granulated sugar for the judges.
The judges had a hard time to decide the winner, prompting Gordon Ramsay to ask his fellow judges, "For the first time, should we make it a draw?" Graham Elliot said Luca "had the slightest of edges," and they agreed to crown him the winner of this season.
"I came here from another country because America is the best place in the world and now I am America's MasterChef. This is so special," said the 31-year-old Italian. He becomes the first male champion in the U.S. edition of the cooking competition show.
Elliot was pleased with the outcome, saying, "The best Chef does win. I don't think we've ever walked away and gone, 'Man I think so-and-so should've got it.' This is one where I think everyone at home is going to see it and go, 'Yes, this is right.' "
He also praised runner-up Natasha, who was a frontunner through the competition, for being "formidable." As for Luca, Elliot liked his "passion and heart and soul."