LYNTON Tapp can win Sunday's MasterChef grand final, says Rishi Desai.
The latest contestant eliminated from the reality cooking show is backing his best mate to beat fellow finalists Emma Dean and Samira El Khafir.
It's man supporting man, which is fitting enough for a series which started with a battle of the sexes back in June.
"I've got my money on Lynton," Desai told APN.
"He's a really good friend of mine. We shared a room in the house.
"I've seen him grow from the start of the competition until the end. He's learned a lot. I think he deserves to win. He's proved that he's good enough."
The former NT stockman certainly seems to have a new surge in self-confidence.
"I think he got confident after Dubai; that was a turning point for him," he said.
"When he broke down in kitchen in Dubai, I think he realised this is not going to help him if he breaks down under pressure. That changed him a lot."
Desai's elimination came as a shock tonight. The long-time frontrunner of the competition went into the "culinary duel" challenge with a major advantage.
"Sometimes advantages are not so advantageous," he said.
"Expectations are low if you don't have the advantage."
In the first round, the 35-year-old cooked his mussels too early and then in the second round the judges found the taste of his charred leek cream too overpowering.
"When you're in the Top 4, you're expected to have every element on your dish perfect," he said.
He said it was hard to back up his elimination by returning to the MasterChef kitchen to watch the filming of the grand final.
"It was incredibly hard, especially the fact that everyone else had time to think about it," he said.
"Christina (Batista) had a few days to go home; I didn't.
"It was hard to stand up in the gantry and look down and see them cooking when you know you could have been there."
The public servant plans to eventually open his own modern Indian restaurant, but first wants to publish a cookbook and get more industry experience.
"I want to share a lot of experiences not just on the show, but experiences I've had throughout my life," he said.
"I've travelled around in the US and India. I want to get that in a book."
The MasterChef grand final airs on Sunday at 7.30pm on Ten.