What does it take to become MasterChef on Fox? What is the first MasterChef winner in the U.S. up to? Whitney Miller chats about her book, Modern Hospitality and provides a sneak peek into the this exciting cooking show.
What do you do when you drop your chicken dish on the floor with seven minutes on the clock during the finale of a national food competition show? Whitney Miller explains, “The secret ingredient was prayer.” She knew that it was impossible for her to cook a chicken in seven minutes. Miller calls her winning dish “The Miracle Chicken.” Chef Gordon Ramsay sliced into the thickest part of the chicken, and Whitney knew that if there was even a hint of pink, then she would go home without a win. As a competitive tennis player during college, Whitney wasn’t ready to forfeit the game. Whitney Miller wanted to become the first MasterChef champion!
Whitney Miller learned how to cook next to her great grandmother in the kitchen, and the first dish she cooked were biscuits. Her great grandmother used three simple ingredients for these biscuits: canola oil, self rising flour and whole milk. Whitney uses olive oil instead of canola oil. Her great grandmother taught her the importance of hospitality and inspired Miller’s recipe for Mississippi Cheese Steak. She uses the pan juices cooked in with the roast and puts a smear of pimento and cheese and uses a light and airy French bread.
Her latest cookbook will release later this year and highlights her culinary journey across the world with her mom after winning MasterChef. Whitney shares the food stories about experiencing new tastes such as durian, a stinky fruit in Malaysia and also great recipes.
When asked about a quick and easy summer dish to cook after a long work day, Whitney said Roasted Shrimp is perfect. She uses smoky paprika since it makes it taste like it’s from the grill. She uses salt and pepper along with olive oil and puts it in the oven at 400 degrees. “It’s so simple, easy and succulent.”
Known as The Pastry Princess, Whitney loves to bake desserts. She created a Chai Tea Fried Peach Cobbler at a baking competition in South Carolina. Putting a twist on that recipe, Whitney created a Sweet Tea Peach Cobbler.
Living in Florida, Whitney is a newlywed and her husband built her an herb garden. She especially loves her fresh basil, and she is excited to be raising chickens, too so she can gather eggs. “I’ve never even had pets before, so it really is an adventure raising chickens,” Whitney says. “And it’s so nice to know where the ingredients are coming from.” During the Kitchen Chat, Whitney shares highlights from her wedding. “To me, it was all about the food. I wanted it to be a big fellowship.” She asked her guests to bring recipe cards to the wedding and to bring their favorite dessert to the wedding reception so it would be like a potluck celebration. MasterChef Whitney Miller’s great tip for making delicious mashed potatoes is to use a ricer.
Also, here is her amazing recipe for Cauliflower Mac ‘N Cheese!
I actually made this dish and featured it on my Margaret McSweeney youtube channel.
Cauliflower “Mac ‘n’ Cheese” Recipe
By Master Chef Whitney Miller from her cookbook Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm
8 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ cups fat-free milk
½ cup heavy cream
3/8 teaspoon table salt
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Roast until fork-tender and lightly browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Whisk in the cream and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese, the table salt and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir until the cheese melts, then cook, stirring often, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.
Place the cauliflower florets in an 8×8-inch glass baking dish or four 10-ounce ramekins. Pour the cheese sauce on top. Sprinkle the top of the cauliflower with the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese.
Bake until the cheese is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.