MasterChef gives UK students tips for reaching their goals


MasterChef Gerron Hurt guided UK students through a cooking demonstration.

Noah Oldham

On Monday evening, Chef Gerron Hurt, winner of “MasterChef” season 9, came to UK to give a cooking demonstration and a lecture as a guest of the Martin Luther King Center.

Hurt kicked off the two-part event with a cooking demonstration at The Food Connection. He taught students how to make Nashville fried chicken, bacon green beans and coleslaw.

“The food was nothing short of amazing,” said Jericho Curry, a senior journalism student. “In all honesty, it was one of the best southern dishes prepared that I’ve ever tasted in a while.”

After that, Hurt gave a lecture in the auditorium at William T. Young Library. His message was focused on perseverance and patience. As a practical person, Hurt was just set on paying his bills when his wife convinced him to audition for “MasterChef,” which he said he had never seen a season of. Hurt was considered the underdog of his season but was able to beat out his more experienced competitors, becoming the first black winner of the show.

Hurt advised the students to listen to feedback and constructive criticism and to grow from it, like he did with Chef Gordon Ramsey’s critiques in order to win “MasterChef.” He simplified his advice into three points: set goals, be humble and don’t look back.

“I’m very humble for this experience,” Hurt said. “When I went and auditioned for MasterChef I never had intentions on winning. Ever. Never had intentions on winning. It was just a learning experience for me. Winning was an added bonus for me.”

As for his own goals after winning the show, Hurt is working on a cookbook, wants to open up restaurants in Nashville and his hometown of Louisville, and would love to eventually have his own cooking show. He is also working on starting a nonprofit to teach kids how to cook.

“I hope to inspire kids through cooking,” he said. “As a teacher and as a chef, I love the opportunity I have to be able to merge my two passions: cooking and teaching. To share this experience with students and with little kids, I absolutely love it because I do not know who I will inspire in a room.”

For those interested in following Hurt on his journey, his Instagram, Twitter  and Facebook  are all @chefgerron. Hurt also has a subscription-based blog where he shares recipes and video cooking lessons.