Leslie Gilliams is the polarising figure from MasterChef season 5, who may have been loved by fans but had a love-hate relationship with most of the cast members.
MasterChef is a cooking competition reality format show that has been a ratings puller for Fox since it first aired in 2010.
Since then, it has grown in popularity to become one of the channel’s flagship shows and one of its longest-running shows, as it is currently in the middle of its twelfth season.
Throughout the years, the Gordon Ramsay-fronted show has given rise to a number of memorable contestants.
One of the most polarising contestants who remains one of the most memorable and beloved contestants on the show is Leslie Gilliams, who may have been loved by fans but had a love-hate relationship with most of the cast members due to his sharp tongue and his affluence as a stay-at-home dad.
Do MasterChef contestants get paid?
It is common for reality shows that pull their contestants from their everyday lives to pay them a stipend for being on the show – for instance, shows like Survivor have been confirmed to do so. However, interestingly, this is allegedly not the case with MasterChef (US).
The contestants are reportedly not paid for being on the show, with reports suggesting that if they are, it is estimated to be $30 to $35 per day, which is not much.
It is believed that the logic behind this is that contestants can accrue money from appearances, merchandise, and interviews after their stint on the show as compensation for being on MasterChef (US).
MasterChef: Why did everyone hate Leslie?
MasterChef season five premiered in May 2014 and ran until September 2014. The season started with 30 home cooks competing for the chance to be named MasterChef of season five, a chance to author their own cookbook, and the cash prize of $250 000.
However, the competition started with 22 contestants, rather than the expected top 20. This is attributed to two contestants being given a second chance in the auditions to be part of the competing group of home cooks.
Leslie Gilliams won the second chance challenge to be part of the top 22. At the time, he was a 56-year-old former hairdresser turned stay-at-home dad, making him the oldest contestant in his season.
Right off the bat, it was clear that Gilliams would be portrayed as the villain of the season. This is as he was perceived as grumpy, senile, and pretentious from the first episode. This was affirmed by how many explosive fights he had during his time on the show.
His most memorable fight was with Ahran Cho during a team challenge, in which Gilliams resorted to being condescending and berating Cho when they lost the challenge due to his poor leadership skills. Gilliams had a knack for fighting with other contestants throughout his time on the show.
The contestants that disliked him to the very end were Daniel McGuffey, Courtney Lapresi, Christian Green, and Christine Silverstein. He did have other conflicts that he mended with fellow contestants, namely, Elizabeth Cauvel and Cutter Brewer.
Did Leslie Gilliams have friends on MasterChef?
As much as Leslie Gilliams was a polarising figure, he did cultivate friendships on MasterChef.
This arguably affirmed that it was the show that seemed to want to paint him as the antagonist of the season due to his sharp tongue and sometimes childish behaviour.
This is as he managed to make friends. The first was the father-daughter relationship he had with fellow contestant, Ahran Cho, after their first explosive fight.
Other friendships he developed in the series include Francis Legge, Willie Mike, and Victoria Scroggins.
Did Leslie Gilliams win MasterChef?
Leslie Gilliams did not win MasterChef season five, but he did make it as a second runner-up after losing a baking challenge. While he did not win the season, he did go on to become one of the most popular alumni to have been part of the show.
This is as he featured on other episodes and seasons of MasterChef. First he made a cameo appearance in season six when the show celebrated its hundredth episode since its premiere.
Gilliams returned again as a guest judge in season 10’s Pool Party episode.
What is Leslie Gilliam doing now?
According to Leslie Gilliams’ Instagram, he is still very much in love with his wife who is the mother of his step-daughter Melissa Joan Hart, best known for her role in Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
But he is not a stay-at-home husband anymore. He is now a restaurateur and owner of Silver Fox Oyster which he opened in November 2018.
Moreover, he continues to share his recipes and cooking on his Instagram and shares personalised videos on Cameo.