‘So brave’: MasterChef star praised
Laura Sharrad may have just missed out on the MasterChef crown - and the $250,000 winner's cheque - but she's won hearts across Australia for her "brave" reaction to a horror injury at the final hurdle.
The Adelaide chef had courted controversy this season due to her past professional associations with judge Jock Zonfrillo, her reliance on pasta dishes, and allegations of occasional "smug" behaviour towards her fellow contestants.
But a painful moment during Monday night's tense grand final standoff against Emelia Jackson has seemingly turned things around for her.
Early on in the final competition, Laura briefly broke down in tears after burning her hand on a pork tray, leaving her in "excruciating" pain - and without the use of her dominant cooking hand.
She stressed that she'd already "lost the competition" as she received medical attention on set, and was comforted by her ex-boss, Jock.
"I don't care about my hand, I care about the pork," an emotional Laura told him.
Despite being rattled by the early injury, Laura managed to collect herself to pull off a truly spectacular suite of dishes for the judges - and impress fans in the process.
I’d have packed up my knives and gone to the ER, that burn looks terrible. Laura’s an absolute machine for continuing on 💪🏼 #MasterChefAU— Shan (@ShanStar) July 20, 2020
Laura's entree of bonito with lilly pilly and saltbush was a "good lookin' first number," according to judge Andy Allen, while Melissa Leong raved that her mouth was "still zinging".
Meanwhile, Laura's fears that her burnt hand had distracted her and caused her to "overcook" the next course of pork turned out to be unfounded.
The judges marvelled at the "sophisticated" native dish, with Melissa describing her inclusion of apple "magical".
Ultimately, Laura fell behind eventual winner Emelia thanks to an unlucky mistake during preparations of her dessert, after leaving the freezer door slightly ajar and resulting in an imperfectly set Jerusalem artichoke gelato.
"I think it feels a bit icy," says Melissa, with Andy agreeing: "There's a couple of things here that haven't gone right."
Emelia's "perfect" dessert of pistachio financier with davidson plum, raspberry sorbet and meringue received rave reviews from the judges, earning her the MasterChef win.
Gracious in defeat, runner-up Laura issued a teary statement congratulating her friend.
After a close embrace with her competitor, she faced the judges and shared how proud she was of Emelia.
"I'm pretty gutted. I'm not gonna lie. But, um … Hoo," she said through tears.
"I'm so proud of her. Mils is amazing and she deserves this so much. Like, she's come so far. To watch her grow has been amazing.
"To eat her food has been amazing. She really deserves this. She really, really does."
Originally published as 'So brave': MasterChef star praised
Poor Laura, that burn must be so painful 😖 #MasterchefAU— Jasmine Jensen (@jasminerjensen) July 20, 2020
So gutted for Laura. She cooked extremely well and with that horrible burn on her hand. So proud of Emelia. What a Finale. #MasterChefAU— MAYGEN (@maygenlee) July 20, 2020
I may want Emelia to win but Laura is so so brave to keep going even though her burn is that bad #masterchefau— Ames 🥀 (@pipcrmclean) July 20, 2020
#MasterChefAU Omg Laura must be in so much pain rn...that burn, damn— Neel P (Not Sarah🥕) (@neels_pandit) July 20, 2020
Laura has a true and extraordinary gift for cooking! You couldn't blame someone for not delivering or pulling out with a burn like hers, but she has just pushed hard and delivered the top tier food she always does! #MasterChefAU— Brandon Black (@Serious_Black96) July 20, 2020
Laura gave it a good shot though, poor girl, that burn has got to hurt #MasterChefAU— wontletyoufly (@wontletyoufly) July 20, 2020