A newly forged partnership between the Vidalia Onion Committee and Southern cookbook author/blogger/Masterchef winner Whitney Miller has added an extra level of excitement to the 2016 Vidalia leads into the new season for Georgia’s official State Vegetable.
According to Susan Waters, executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee, the partnership will include Whitney taking part in personal appearances. The first will be at this week’s Southeast Produce Council expo in Hollywood, FL.
And Whitney, much to the delight of Vidalia Onions, will be working with the committee on recipe development and point-of-sale collateral materials.
“We are so excited to have Whitney,” Susan told OnionBusiness.com. “She’s scheduled to come here for a visit during the festival week, and she’ll be meeting and getting to know our growers.”
The 39th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival is set for April 21-24.
Whitney, who resides in Plant City, FL, has the kind of refined Southern roots that become evident in everyday conversation.
“I spoke with her on the phone, and she says, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ How Southern is that?” Waters said.
Southern manners mixed with Southern cooking just add to the perfect recipe.
“We will have input in the recipe development,” Susan said of the onion committee, adding, “We are looking at some old Southern favorites with a new healthy twist. And we’ll present new recipes on out point-of-sale materials.”
Susan added that there’s a possibility Whitney will be a part of the Vidalia Onion Committee’s PMA Fresh Summit presentation this year. In the meantime, the committee is introducing the young woman through Facebook and Twitter with links to Whitney’s web site and also with giveaways.
“New Southern Table,” Whitney’s acclaimed new cookbook, was released in October and features beloved family fare that the Masterchef winner grew up loving, and it was part of the Vidalia Onions’ announcement last week.
The new book showcases her passion for the Southern kitchen, which was “inspired by the hospitality of her 97 year-old great-grandmother and creativity of her mother.” In fact, Whitney began working her own culinary magic at an early age, and she won Masterchef in 2010 at age 22, taking the title of Fox’s first U.S. Masterchef.
She went on to obtain a degree from University of Southern Mississippi, emphasizing nutrition, and in 2011 she conducted cooking demos with the likes of Guy Fieri and Curtis Stone. That was followed by more appearances with “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro, Reza Mahammad and Giorgio Locatelli.
Heralded for her culinary accomplishments – she was the youngest contestant and winner the inaugural Fox America’s Masterchef – the strong-faithed young woman works to inspire youngsters and young adults through cooking demos and speaking events.
Her credentials are extensive, with recognition coming her way from across the world.
And busy as she is, Whitney makes time for giving back. She has donated her speaking and cooking services to nonprofit organizations/events such as the American Heart Association, the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, and the Mississippi Muscular Sclerosis Society, the United Way Alternative Spring Break, and the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Tebow Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament. She also serves as a motivational speaker and presenter for organizations/ events.
And there are the cookbooks. Leading up to “New Southern Table,” she authored “Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm,” with a foreword by Gordon Ramsey.
Her recipes have been featured in the Masterchef and Ultimate Masterchef cookbooks, and she writes for periodicals such as Flavors (Atlanta), Taste of Home, Southern Living, and Eat. Drink. Mississippi. Her web site is www.whitneymiller.net, and Vidalia Onions can be visited at www.vidaliaonion.org.