We’re all wrong about MasterChef star
On every reality show there are fan favourites and then there are those who the public take great delight in disliking.
Unfortunately for Laura Sharrad, she has somehow found herself at the top of the least liked list on the current season of MasterChef.
Laura, who first appeared on the cooking show in Season Six before returning for this year's Back To Win series, has been criticised by some viewers for her "smug" behaviour and "bad attitude" on the cooking show.
Many viewers have also grown tired of her propensity to cook pasta dishes, and have suggested she has received favourable treatment from judge Jock Zonfrillo, who she used to work for.
But Laura's co-stars have insisted that we've all got the wrong end of the stick, and that Laura is actually one of the most genuine, caring contestants on the show.
CO-STARS DEFEND LAURA
Two of this season's most popular contestants, Brendan Pang and Khanh Ong, have spoken out about the criticisms levelled at Laura and have branded them unfair.
Speaking to Now To Love, recently eliminated contestant Khanh hit back at claims that Laura only ever cooks pasta on the show.
"People have only chosen to see her as cooking pasta but if you actually count it all up it wouldn't even be half the dishes," Khanh said.
"She's a really close friend of mine and I was really surprised by how much backlash she got because I think it's unfair.
"It happens in a lot of seasons and it usually happens to a beautiful woman. Social media seems to jump on a beautiful woman and I think that's what it is. They found her and instead of attacking her because they just don't like that she's on TV again, they're attacking her for pasta. That's not the reason that you're angry, I honestly think that. It happened to Chloe (Carroll) in my year and I think it's so unfair.
"Laura is young, she is very, very beautiful and so people want to tear her down. It's 2020 we do not have time for that anymore. We're fighting for equal rights, we should not be tearing each other down," he said.
Khanh's comments echo those made by Brendan who spoke to news.com.au last month and insisted Laura is "amazing".
"I became close with her and she's very giving," Brendan said. "I remember on my birthday, she gave me a little gift - no one else did. It was so cool that she remembered.
"She's a very generous person and she's always cooking for everyone."
HOW SHE'S UPSET VIEWERS
After her first stint on MasterChef, Laura landed a job working for Jock Zonfrillo at his Orana restaurant.
At the start of this season, some viewers felt Laura's previous relationship with the new judge gave her an unfair advantage.
But Jock denied that was the case, telling The Daily Telegraph: "I said it in the first tasting, there is no favouritism, just to be clear. If anything, Laura will be at a disadvantage carrying the weight of cooking for her mentor."
Still, that hasn't stopped viewers from suggesting Laura has received preferential treatment.
Mate, Jock looks at Laura with such adoration before he’s even tasted anything. Undoubtedly, she can cook but I don’t know how Jock can say with a straightface that there’s no favouritism with her.— Ooh Lah Lah (@oohlahlah09) May 24, 2020
Like a proud parent he already has unconscious bias. #MasterChefAU #MasterChef
Jock & Laura is the worst thing to happen to #MasterchefAU this season. What a way to ruin the show 🤢🤢🤢— عاملة (@Thembi_Lily) June 7, 2020
Laura's attitude has also been criticised by fans throughout the season.
Viewers were less than impressed with her behaviour towards Sarah Tiong after the latter struggled to complete a challenge to replicate a 'Black Box' dessert.
After the challenge, Laura bounded over to check in on a visibly emotional Sarah.
"Tiong! Tiong! Come on. What's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong?" she asked, giving her fellow contestant a hug before repeatedly asking her how she'd botched the cook: "What'd you miss? What'd you miss? What'd you miss? What'd you miss?"
Sarah slumped down with her head in her hands. "Just give me a second."
"OK … I'm just gonna hug everyone else," said Laura as she retreated.
The pair's awkward encounter didn't go unnoticed by MasterChef viewers:
And THIS is why I said Laura was annoying and smug last week. That annoying little dance and visible pleasure in other people's stress (especially Sarah T) was just YUCK!!#MasterChefAU pic.twitter.com/VkyxuHGfjS— Samia Mazahir (@SamiaMPardhan) May 19, 2020
Laura repeatedly asking Sarah T what she missed was unnecessary. Maybe, she forgot herself for a second because she was riding a high from finishing all her elements but it was completely tactless. And the little snarky "I'll go hug someone else" moment. Wow. #MasterChefAU pic.twitter.com/JI58k7BBBT— 🥀𝕁𝕖𝕟𝕟𝕚! (Tentatively) At The Disco (@wittyhandle_) May 19, 2020
oof laura really has no tact. if someone’s visibly upset don’t ask how they did over and over & expect sunshine and rainbows to be their answer #MasterChefAU— gay4moleman (@uuuuuurgh) May 19, 2020
A week later, Laura was criticised by some viewers for how she treated fan favourite Reece Hignell during a "relay" team challenge.
As Laura watched teammate Reece struggle to cook a piece of fish on the season's favourite kitchen gadget - the hibachi grill - she grew increasingly frustrated, throwing her hands up at one point and muttering, "Oh my god," under her breath.
"If he undercooks this fish, I'm going to cry," she said while watching Reece opt to use a pan instead of persisting with hibachi grill's roaring flame around the raw piece of fish.
When the team members were let back in to the kitchen from their position outside, Laura was quick to criticise Reece's cooking, this time to his face.
"What did you do to that fish?" she yelled from one end of the kitchen to a downcast Reece.
Notice how Simon and Emilia clapped for Khanh while Tessa and Laura yelled at Reece. It’s called not having class. #MasterChefAU— miss lexiecana (@gomezquality) May 25, 2020
Laura yelling “What did you do to that fish!?” whilst Jess & Sarah surround Callum with a supportive iso hug and green team praises Brendan speaks volumes #MasterChefAU— Lisa Poppy (@lsafslla) May 25, 2020
exc00se me but why was the first thing laura did was yell at reece??? at least tell him hes done a good job at finishing the dishes, goshhh #MasterChefAU— em (@emxtwt) May 25, 2020
IS THE TIDE TURNING?
There are signs that fans are starting to ease up on Laura after criticising her all season.
During last night's immunity challenge, Laura was praised on social media for her encouraging words towards the contestants from her position up in the gantry.
I know she’s not popular amongst #MasterChefAU fans, but Laura has been FANTASTIC on that gantry tonight. Told Brendan to breathe when he was stressing! Much better than “keep going”, I’d say pic.twitter.com/bg4XO2gnZG— Fiza Zali (@fizawanders) June 16, 2020
Why crucify Laura for pasta - Reece makes tarts and Brendan dumplings - Reynolds ice cream - Emilia cakes - Only Poh and Callum have shown the versatility and the will to challenge and push themselves - hope one of the two go all the way #MasterChefAU— RD (@RD5504) June 16, 2020
Laura is one of the final eight contestants left on MasterChef: Back To Win and according to Sportsbet she is the second favourite to win behind Emelia Jackson.
MasterChef continues on Sunday night at 7.30pm on Channel 10
Originally published as We're all wrong about MasterChef star