The winner of the first series of American MasterChef, Whitney Miller Humphrey, went from a Southern Girl, lovingly whipping up dishes for her family, to worldwide fame and a best-selling cookbook before she’d even hit her mid-20’s!
Whitney Miller Humphrey‘s inspirational journey shows viewers around the world how passion, faith and determination can make your wildest dreams come true. This pretty ‘Pastry Princess’ creates culinary masterpieces using budget ingredients that you can find at your local farm shop, or grow yourself. She’s kindly agreed to an interview, to help inspire others to make their dreams a reality!
Do you have an inspirational quote that you live by?
Each of you should use whatever gift you have been given to serve others – 1 Peter 4:10.
If you could describe yourself as one dish, which would it be?
A chocolate chip cookie with a sweet interior, a tough, competitive (crunchy) exterior, and fun (chocolate) surprises.
How did you know that you were born to be a Chef?
A friend’s Mom said that she remembers me being up at the stove at about 3 years old stirring a pot. The Lord instilled this passion in me since I was young and I recognized cooking at a young age as my spiritual gift.
How important was self-belief to following your dreams?
My dream of becoming a Chef began when I was about 12 years old. I worked hard teaching myself, as well as learning from others how to cook. Confidence and self-belief in my cooking came from years of experience.
Why does cooking mean so much to you?
I look at people’s faces when they’re eating my food… I love seeing them happy and want them to have a food memory, or to bring about food memory from my dishes.
Were there any other Chefs that inspired you?
I would watch a lot of cooking shows! I was inspired by Martha Stewart and her creativity.
How has winning MasterChef changed your life?
Winning Masterchef really confirmed for me that I have what it takes to be in the culinary world!
What’s the most popular dish that you’ve cooked?
I’d say that I’m known for my ‘7-minute miracle chicken’! Everyone asked me what I was thinking when I dropped my chicken on the floor in the last 10 minutes of MasterChef; The second question is how did you cook the chicken in 7 minutes?
If you could pick a favourite judge from MasterChef, who would it be and why?
I liked each of the judges for different reasons, but one of the things that I liked about Graham was that he recognized and appreciated the creativity of the dishes.
Is there anything that you wish that you’d said to the judges?
I don’t think I needed to say anything more than I did, I let my food do the talking. I always wanted it to be about the food, especially when my age and inexperience came into play.
You’re now in the public eye and regularly cook your delicious recipes for other celebrities, who was your favourite person to meet so far?
I’ve had the privilege to meet many celebrities but meeting the Chefs that I’ve watched on TV since I was young, like Martha Stewart and Curtis Stone, was very cool.
What’s your most memorable experience so far?
I was asked to be the featured opening night chef of Chefdance during the Sundance film festival two years ago. It was an amazing opportunity and experience! I received a lot of recognition and admiration for my work there.
How have you been using your fame to make a difference to others?
I speak at school’s and talk to students about going after their dreams. I volunteer with high school culinary students. I’ve also worked with different charities and donated my cooking services to be auctioned off to raise funds.
If you could change one thing about living in the spotlight, what would it be?
There’s always going to be the good and bad. I’ve always been a pretty private and reserved person, social media does change that.
What’s the most artistic plate that you’ve presented?
One of my most artistic dishes is my take on banana fosters with profiteroles; It was the dish that I won the dessert challenge with on MasterChef.
What’s the trick to perfect baking?
Precise measuring is key!
Who taught you to bake?
My passion for baking must have come from my sweet tooth. My Mom liked to bake homemade sweets, my sisters and I loved homemade brownies. I’m a cookie and brownie girl.
Do you think that high quality or organic ingredients are necessary for good cooking?
I like to try and grow my own vegetables and herbs or source them locally but won’t pay extra in the grocery store for organic. I regularly use common and inexpensive ingredients, elevating them to new heights – I like to create healthier spins on comfort foods.
Do you like to listen to music while in the kitchen?
I do like to listen to music while I’m cooking, I’ve gotten to like country music more because of my husband… I like The Band Perry.
Are there any tips that you can give us about achieving a healthy diet?
Portion control and exercise helps me to stay slim and healthy. I think portion control is key, it’s worked for me and my family. I season my food well too, so every bite is worth savouring.
What tips could you give our readers for creating the perfect meal?
The perfect meal can be simple and not complex. It is all about the flavour, whether using fresh herbs, aromatics like onion and garlic, and/or spices.
You recently married your soul mate and look so happy in your photos! How important was it to you to wait for the right man?
It was very important for me to wait on the Lord to reveal to me Mr Right, I was always very picky. I think the Lord had me be that way for a reason. My Husband’s very loving and I feel like I now put a lot more love into my dishes… He makes me want to be more creative with recipes and helps me with brainstorming.
How did he propose?
He asked me at my parent’s land during our 4th July firework celebration. He had a sign made that lit up during the fireworks going off, that read will you marry me? I was totally surprised. I, of course, said ‘YES!’
Were there any recipes that you treated him to while dating that he still mentions now?
He told me once how much he loves Oreos and challenged me to make homemade Oreos… I did and he was impressed!
What would be your ideal date menu?
My husband likes steak so I would grill him a steak. For me, there better be chocolate. 🙂
Do you think that love is important to personal happiness?
I’ve always had the love of my family but having the love for my husband is passionate and strong. He encourages me to reach my dreams.
If somebody was planning on proposing, what could they do to add more romance to their menu?
End the night with a bang! I was asked to prepare a proposal meal… The girl came home surprised that I was there cooking their meal. I made them decadent molten lava cakes for dessert, it’s easy to prepare the recipe and is like the best combination of a fudgy brownie and moist chocolate cake.
How do you maintain confidence against all odds?
My confidence tends to increase when I am passionate about something.
How do you stay focused to achieve your goals?
When I set a goal, I go after it! In college, I was focused on my career and set aside things like dating to achieve my goals.
Is there anybody that inspires you to reach for greatness?
My Mom has always instilled in me a strong work ethic, she’s very creative and passed that down to me with cooking… She continues to encourage and inspire me.
What advice would you give to those wanting to improve their cooking?
I’d say to challenge yourself with an advanced recipe or try using a new ingredient and not to be afraid of making mistakes.
What can budding Chefs with a gift for cooking do to pursue their dreams?
I would encourage them to have as many people taste their food as possible, it’ll help with confirmation of their talent and word of mouth for promoting. I’d also say don’t be afraid to take risks!
On dark days, how do you maintain a positive outlook?
My day starts off with a devotional. My husband is also a very positive person and inspires me to be more positive.
If all your dreams come true today what would happen?
I would be on my knees thanking the Lord, I make sure to recognize the doors He opens.
What do you think makes a woman truly beautiful?
A caring and selfless woman is beautiful. My great grandmother was one of the most beautiful women, because of her devotion to help people – she was always exhibiting hospitality.
What do you hope to achieve in 2015?
I hope my second cookbook due to release this fall is a huge success!
A perfect world would be…
Me surrounded by my family.