“if you have a dream — go after it” – Whitney Miller the first American winner of ‘Masterchef’

| March 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

After winning, an exhuberant Whitney Miller said she could “not be any more happy than I am right now,” adding, “I just want to tell everybody that, you know what, if you have a dream — go after it.”

The first American winner of ‘Masterchef’ nearly lost it all thanks to a chicken catastrophe. In the season finale, head judge Gordon Ramsay chose Whitney Miller, a 22-year-old college student, over software engineer David Miller for the $250,000 prize and cookbook publishing deal. Both the Millers (unrelated) beat out Sheetal Bhagat and Lee Knaz to reach the final head-to-head competition. There, Whitney Miller almost threw everything away when the fried chicken she’d just cooked slipped off her spatula onto the floor. Ramsay looked horrified, but Whitney managed to re-cook her chicken in just seven minutes.

In the end, Whitney Miller’s meal — the country fried chicken, collard greens, crispy corncake and bread pudding — wowed the judges. David Miller’s scallop ceviche, beef Wellington and nectarine crepe also drew positive comments, though Ramsay didn’t think it was “perfect.”

After winning, an exhuberant Whitney Miller said she could “not be any more happy than I am right now,” adding, “I just want to tell everybody that, you know what, if you have a dream — go after it.”

Whitney Miller manages to win the title of “MasterChef” despite a chicken nightmare. The 22-year-old University of Southern Mississippi nutrition student emerged triumphant after a horrifying last-minute error when she had to prepare a chicken breast in seven minutes after dropping the first one she cooked. Miller whipped up a corn cake with turnip green pesto, country fried chicken and a white chocolate bread pudding during Wednesday night’s two hour finale of the Fox cooking competition.
Miller takes home a quarter of a million dollars and will get to write her own cookbook, along with the honor of being called the “MasterChef.”

“I never would have thought this would ever happen in my life and just to relive it now watching it – it’s surreal,” Miller said to the Hattiesburg American newspaper of her “MasterChef” victory.

Miller was hand-picked in July from an open audition in New Orleans to appear on the television show. The judges commented how impressed they were throughout the season on her unique twists on traditional Southern cuisine.

Miller said she plans to take a few days off but said she is ready to start work on her cookbook.”I’ve got to get on my cookbook because I want everyone to be able to have it as soon as possible,” she said.

Even more impressive: Whitney’s giggly, cute-as-could-be exterior concealed a steely self-confidence, focus and unflappability that would be remarkable in someone twice her age, and with three times as much experience. She even surprised herself.

“I was even shocked at how intense and focused I was,” Whitney said during a media conference call this morning. She even managed to stay cool-as-a-cucumber when she — SPLAT! — dropped her chicken dish on the floor with just seven minutes to go in the final challenge. What did she do? She calmly started over.

“I just knew I wanted to stay focused. I kept telling myself, ‘You’ve worked so hard through this whole process, you can’t lose this at the end.’”

She did confess, however, that she was bluffing when she went before the judges and told them — with confidence — that she was sure that her Round 2 chicken was cooked all the way through, even though the judges, chefs Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot, and restaurateur Joe Bastianich raised doubts about whether chicken could be properly and fully cooked in such little time.

“I was nervous, so nervous about the chicken. I didn’t know for sure whether it was cooked through. I didn’t look it on the outside, but I had worry on the inside, for sure.”

Category: Agencies

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