Leslie Gilliams of MasterChef is Melissa Joan Hart’s stepfather, eh?

If you’ve been following MasterChef this season, you know that the final three is now set: Elizabeth, Courtney, and Leslie. That means my prediction of a Courtney vs. Elizabeth final could still come true, and it was teased a little bit in the ‘Final Four’ episode (where Elizabeth must have said six different times that she didn’t want to ultimately face Courtney 1-on-1). It looks like it won’t be a direct 1-on-1 final, per se — the season finale is next week, and while it’s a 2-hour special (so that 1 cook could get eliminated in the first hour), it’s basically a three-way dance in some respects:

If you’ve been watching, you know a big theme has been Leslie’s wealth — to the point that Malibu (his home) essentially became a character (the 23rd chef, if you will). Leslie as a “stay-at-home dad” has been fairly consistently mocked, most notably by Cutter — who Leslie ultimately eliminated (this sounds like a WWE storyline, doesn’t it?). Well, if you were curious as to how Leslie is rich, we have some answers now. You can read this article, or this one (they bought a home in 2010 for $2.6 million), or you can just read this tweet:

Yep. Leslie Gilliams married Paula Hart, who is perhaps best known as the mother of Melissa Joan Hart (and the producer of most of her shows, including Sabrina, which I’m sure netted everyone some nice cash because it was on forever). Leslie isn’t Melissa’s biological father — he married Paula Hart in 1994 — but he has been in the picture for close to 20 years, and clearly (top tweet of this post) goes to tapings of Melissa and Joey, etc.

I honestly doubt Leslie is going to win this entire thing, but … there is this line from a profile of him:

Gilliams knows the outcome of the season, but says readers must watch episodes that air throughout the summer to find out the winner. When asked if Malibu could expect to see a Gilliams restaurant soon, he laughed.

“Not with two kids in college,” he said. “But I never close the door on anything. Most of my dreams have come true.”

The “dreams” line could easily refer to the $2.6 million oceanfront home, but it could be a reference to winning MasterChef too. Honestly, I thought the final three might be Elizabeth, Courtney and Christian; I figured Leslie would go down in flames on some bigger challenge, but apparently I was wrong there. It was smart TV to keep the primary antagonist around as long as possible, though.

The deference on the “no Malibu restaurant” idea could be playful joshing with a reporter, or it could be evidence that he doesn’t win. I guess we’ll find out Monday.

Ted Bauer


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