Justin Narayan is the man of the hour and rightfully so. This 27-year-old just won the season 13 of MasterChef Australia after quite an impressive ride. His journey on the show, from being an underdog to the ultimate winner, has been an inspiration to many.

After cooking two of Australian chef Peter Gilmore’s dishes – shaved southern squid with koji butter and shiitake custard and a golden crackle, with a perfect 40/40 score, Justin took home $250,000 (₹1.86 crore approximately) as the winner. 

What is he planning to do with the money? While Justin told News.Au that a restaurant is definitely on the cards, he has different priorities at the moment. 

I try to make some smart investments, and I start making some online content, but working to open my place requires experience in the kitchen.

But who is Justin? How did his journey begin?

Justin hails from Perth, Western Australia and is of Indian heritage. He is a first-generation Australian and a Fijian Indian, which refers to Fijian citizens who are fully or partially of Indian descent from the Indian subcontinent. 

His Indian dishes on the show, like chicken curry, pickle salad, Indian chicken tacos, charcoal chicken with toum, and flatbread, have been a subtle nod towards his heritage. 

Justin began cooking at the age of 13 and is inspired heavily by his mother’s Indian cooking! 

He shared that he spent a lot of his time watching shows and cooking with his tatta and pati (grandfather and grandmother). And now loves to cook for his fiancée, Esther. 

But his dishes were not the only thing that made him a season favourite. His sense of humour and his adorable friendship with the runner up of the season, Pete Campbell had audiences chuckling throughout the show. 

I’m keen to party with these guys, but a huge thank you to the judges, the other contestants – Pete, Kishwar. Pete in particular. ‘I freaking love you, bro’. This has just been the best experience of my entire life and my mind is blown.

-Justin Narayan after winning MasterChef

Justin also worked as a youth pastor, and helped create a safe community for teenagers. He put his Masters’ study on hold to try his luck in the MasterChef kitchen, and look how wonderful that turned out. 

His humanitarian spirit isn’t just restricted to his work with teenagers. Justin shared that he would love to one day have a food truck or restaurant featuring the Indian flavours he grew up eating. Some profits of which, would go to helping feed and educate children living in the slums of India.

He is the second Indian-origin chef to have won the show, first being prison guard Sashi Cheliah, who won MasterChef Australia in 2018.