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MasterChef winner shares recipes, Gospel

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Since winning Fox's MasterChef contest last year, Whitney Miller has been sharing her love of food with her first cookbook, but new recipes and satisfied taste buds aren't all this southerner wants to spread.

The Mississippi cook is using her fame to share the Gospel.

MasterChef is a cooking reality show hosted by Gordon Ramsay, celebrity chef and owner of several award-winning restaurants.

The show's harrowing finale, where Miller had to prepare and cook a second piece of chicken in less than 10 minutes after dropping her first piece, aired last September and is one of several moments during the show that she says is evidence of God's protection in her life.

"There's so many times I knew the Lord's hand was over me because I don't think I would have made it through the whole competition without Him," Miller, a member of Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss., told Baptist Press.

Ramsay, the show's head judge, told Miller -- who was 22 at the time -- that she was too young during her audition. Now she has turned that snub around and encourages other young men and women.

Every time she signs a copy of her new cookbook, "Modern Hospitality," she writes "1 Timothy 4:12," which says: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

"I really love the opportunity that through the book I can use that as a witness," Miller said.

Miller and her family are cautious about how she is portrayed, a concern that almost caused her to refuse signing the basic reality TV contract that said the show's producers could depict her any way they wished. However, the show's executive producer promised her that cameras would only film on set and how she acted in front of them was how she would be shown onscreen, she said.


Even after the show, Miller is careful with her actions because she does not want to do anything that would discourage people from the Gospel. For example, she refuses to be a part of events held in casinos.

"I have my morals and values and I stand on those," Miller said. "If money is put towards me or whatever, I don't sway from my beliefs."

Miller's cookbook, which mentions her faith in the introduction, is not just a way for her to encourage others and share Christ's love. It is the fruition of her childhood dream.

"It's been a big dream of mine since I was young to be able to put a cookbook out," she said. "It's southern classics but with my own modern twist."

However, Miller said she knows her success does not come from herself. She attributes it to God and said her first step in all of her endeavors has been prayer.

"Anything that I do I just pray over it, and before I even started the cookbook I just prayed that it would be something that people could really use and not just something that was put up," she said.

She asked God to make her a servant and show her people who do not believe, and He did, she said. During her cookbook tour, she met people with different nationalities, cultures and religions and was able to share the Gospel with them.

Her life can be hectic and unpredictable, which she relishes because it forces her to realize that she is not the one in control.


"On a daily basis I know I have to be in the Word because it's the foundation for everything," she said. "I know that I just have to have faith that the Lord does have a plan for me."

Miller studied nutrition in college and said her next aspiration is to encourage families to bring their children into the kitchen. Hopefully by doing so, children can learn about produce and other healthy cooking tips that can help them make better, more nutritious decisions as they get older, she said.

"Being a resident of Mississippi, it's not exactly known for being the healthiest state, so if I can help with that, that is really one of my passions," she said.

Whitney Jones is a student at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and was an intern with Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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