Bar manager Tim Anderson has been crowned the youngest ever winner of MasterChef after weeks of intense competition in the BBC1 culinary challenge.
The 26-year-old American, known for his experimental dishes, now plans to build his own food empire.
Judge and presenter John Torode said his cooking was the "best culinary explosion" the programme had ever seen.
Viewers have watched Mr Anderson battle his way through 11 weeks, winning a place in the 20 who started the contest through to the finals screened this week, alongside Tom Whitaker and Sara Danesin.
Their final challenges included making lunch in the Australian rainforest, catering for a wedding in 35C (95F) heat, cooking at three of New York's finest restaurants and preparing a three-course menu for some of the chefs who had mentored them during the series.
His final meal for Torode and fellow judge Gregg Wallace involved a complex array of "slider" sandwiches, themed to a trio of cities, a Japanese noodle dish with truffled lobster and a selection of British puddings.
Delighted Mr Anderson, who has been married for three years to Laura, said: "It is such a good feeling. I'm very proud of the accomplishment and I'm just so glad that John and Gregg liked my food.
"Tom and Sara are outstanding cooks and I never really thought I had a chance to beat either of them.
"Looking back on all the amazing cooks that left before me, it is really quite humbling to have come out on top. Humbling but super awesome at the same time."
Torode said: "I think all three were amazing, but Tim was in a different world altogether. He had influences from Norway, Japan, America, Australia and the UK. That all coming together gave us the best culinary explosion that we've ever seen in MasterChef."
Wallace said: "Inventive is one thing but inventive and delicious is nothing short of incredible."
Mr Anderson was raised in Wisconsin until he was 18 and and moved to Los Angeles to attend college.
He later lived in Japan, which sparked a keen interest in the kitchen and he has been cooking seriously for four years.
He said: "When I was growing up, food was not that important to the family, and we kind of ate what was quick and cheap to prepare.
"That all started to change when my brother and I grew up and my mum stopped working full-time."
He first impressed the judges with his audition dish of cod tempura and candied purple sweet potato chips with pickled ginger tartar sauce and yuzu-malt vinegar tsuyu.
He continued: "My passion really took off when I lived in Japan, from when I was 22 to 24, and since then cooking has been one of my greatest obsessions.
"In 2008, I ate a three-course meal at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The starter was served with strawberries caramelised in 25- year-old balsamic vinegar. It was so beautiful that it nearly made me cry."
Despite fearing he had blown it at one stage, he bounced back, thanks to the other contestants.
"Some of their ideas were really inspiring, and on top of that their skill level constantly challenged me to learn new methods and techniques," he said.
The winner, who lives in north London and runs a bar near Euston station, said of the future: "The big, silly, long-term goal is to have an empire, hopefully including several regional Japanese restaurants and an American-style brewpub."
The winning menu:
Starter: Tri-City Sliders - Los Angeles Slider of Wagyu Tartare, Smoky Lime and Jalapeno Marmalade, Avocado and Butter Bean Mousse; Tokyo Slider of Monkfish Liver, Umeboshi Ketchup, Jellied Ponzu, Matcha Mayonnaise; London Slider of Curried Lamb Cheeseburger, Apple and Ale Chutney, Raita Mayonnaise.
Main: Kyushu-Style Pork Ramen with Truffled Lobster, Gyoza and Aromatic Oils.
Dessert: Sticky Toffee Creme Brulee with Blackcurrant Stout Sauce; Rhubarb Crumble with Custard; Cheddar Cheesecake with Whiskey Jelly.