A young man born in the Pacific islands has risen to fame overnight by winning the Masterchef New Zealand 2022.
Sam Low, who was born in Fiji and later emigrated to New Zealand, clinched the finale after an intense battle against Elliot McClymont.
Sam was crowned MasterChef NZ after his winning three course menu of Paua congee, steamed blue cod and a sea dessert that wowed judges Nadia Lim, Vaughan Mabee and Michael P. Dearth.
Over seven weeks viewers in New Zealand and other parts of the world have watched 16 of New Zealand’s best cooks battle it out in the stunning Queenstown Vingard Masterchef NZ kitchen, with contestants being eliminated weekly.
The win for Sam is also a personal victory which he described as overcoming bullying and racial discrimination.
“This is insane! I feel so blessed, my heart is full and filled with joy. Never would I have ever thought I would be in this position, where I got to dig into my truth and use as fuel to give me purpose and pride,” said Sam on his social media page.
“I did this for little Sam, a shy, scared, closeted, obese Fiji born Kiwi Chinese boy who was bullied, sexually confused and racially discriminated growing up.
“Owning my identity, reconnecting with my cultural heritage and being proud has empowered me to push through in life and give me the strength to go for my dreams, nothing is impossible. This is for all you little Sam’s out there.”
Runner up Elliot gave Sam a good run for his money right to the end and said: “There is no competitor I would have rather gone up against. We have such different cooking styles and have learnt so much from one another on our Masterchef NZ Journey. It has been an incredible experience, Sam mate, huge congratulations!”
Masterchef NZ judge Vaughan Mabee said of Sam’s win “From the start of the competition Sam stood out – he had something special in the way he cooked. I can see myself going to eat crispy spicy Chinese style pork belly and unusual but delicious dumplings at a cool unique restaurant venue in Auckland”.
Fellow judge Nadia Lim also praised him, “Sam, I love that you have incorporated your upbringing into your dishes and have brought incredible innovation to make outstanding and unique dishes. You are so deserving of being MasterChef NZ 2022, I can’t wait to see what you do next!”
Michael P. Dearth added “Huge congratulations Sam! You are a stand out cook and it’s clear you are going to go very far.”
Apart from the coveted title of Masterchef New Zealand 2022, Sam also wins a cookbook deal from Allen and Unwin, six months of groceries from New World, NZ$6000 worth of NEFF appliances and a Kenwood Chef Patissier XL Stand Mixer.