August 27, 2014  

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Southern Miss Student Whitney Miller Captures Title of 'MasterChef'

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University of Southern Mississippi student Whitney Miller won $250,000 and a cookbook deal by capturing the title of "MasterChef." (Photo by Van Arnold)

Universityof Southern Mississippisenior Whitney Miller of Poplarville has proven she’s a culinary master.

Wednesday night, Miller won the title of “MasterChef” on the Fox reality television show of the same name after being selected to compete on the show through an audition in New Orleans in July. She won $250,000 and her own cookbook deal along with the title.

“I think I’m a good cook and I thought, hopefully, the judges will think I am too,” she said of being selected for the competition. “Making it to the top four of the competition was a dream come true, but I wanted that title, and I got it.”

The winning meal Miller prepared included fried chicken, collard greens, fried corn cake with a black eye pea puree and a white chocolate soufflé.  The show was previously taped, so Miller had to keep the result secret.

Her love of cooking goes back to her teen years, when she would cook dinner for her family every night. “It’s just something I really love to do, and I always want to come up with new recipes to change up the menu,” she said.

Being a student at Southern Miss helped give her the confidence to present her passion for cooking in front of a national audience. “I’m always making presentations for my classes, and that’s really helped boost my self-confidence. "

In recognition of her achievement, Southern Miss Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Joe Paul on Thursday presented Miller with a scholarship for her final semester of classes at the university. She is completing her requirements for a degree in interdisciplinary studies, with an emphasis in nutrition.  

Miller, who helps operates her family’s restaurant in Poplarville, “Glaze,” will be honored at tonight’s football game between Southern Miss and the University of Kansas.

“We’re so proud of Whitney,” said Dr. Paul. “I believe she personifies the university’s mantra – creative, bold and determined.”