America’s first Masterchef winner, Whitney Miller, is one of the chefs who will be attending this year’s Good Food & Wine Show. As a culinary artist, author, blogger and motivational speaker, she definitely prefers to keep her plate full – so GLAMOUR caught up with her to find out how she does it!
You grew up in a very food-orientated family – what’s the first memory you have of cooking as a child?
Every Sunday my family went to my great-grandmother’s house for Sunday lunch. Making biscuits was saved for last so they would be fresh and hot from the oven. My great-grandmother would always let me put my hand to the dough, rolling it between my hands, forming the biscuits. As a little girl, I was able to observe and learn this art from someone with almost seventy years of biscuit-making experience. Today, my great-grandmother is ninety-seven.
What part of being a chef is the most rewarding?
For me, the most rewarding part of cooking is seeing the pleasure on people’s faces when they taste my food.
How is being famous for your food different from being any other kind of celebrity?
I am able to relate to the day-to-day aspects of people’s lives. Because so many people love food, it makes for a more common bond with me than maybe the connection experienced with other types of celebrities. I love sharing my passion for cooking with others.
You’re a chef, an author and a blogger – how do you find the time to still give motivational speeches?
Well, I don’t get very much beauty sleep. My schedule is kind of crazy at times and when I have to , I stay up all hours catching up on paperwork and even cooking.
What do you think is your greatest accomplishment?
I think that it would have to be writing the cookbook. There were lots of early mornings and late nights spent in the kitchen, creating and testing recipes. When I thought I was finished, I would find that I needed one more appetizer recipe or one more entree, etc. I celebrated the completion; writing my own cookbook is a dream come true.
You’re a southern girl – how do you manage to stay in shape when you’re surrounded by delicious homemade food everyday?
It is a balancing act. I work out several times a week. I try to fill up mostly on vegetables, lean proteins, seafood, and enjoy carbs in moderation. And, actually the homemade part is the good part. I can control the ingredients. Because of the cooking techniques I choose to use, like oven-frying instead of deep frying and roasting, my twist on Southern food is healthier.
What do you think is the key to enjoying your food while also maintaining a healthy body image?
I think one key is portion control. I like to eat and I don’t like the word diet. I request appetizer-sized plates when dining at restaurants and I use small plates for meals at home.
What’s your favourite meal?
A plate of fresh vegetables is a favorite meal of mine, ideally containing a sweet potato, Lima or butter beans, roasted brussel sprouts, and a medley of fresh corn.
And what would be your ‘go-to’ recipe?
I live close to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans, LA so fresh seafood is easily accessed. I love to cook shrimp because they are quick and easy to prepare. My BBQ Shrimp is one of my easy go-to recipes served alongside a fresh garden salad. It is also a great dish for entertaining, whether served as an appetizer or an entree.