UPDATE: WKU alum wins MasterChef cooking show

Contestant and WKU alumnus Gerron Hurt in the “Battle of the Beef/Semi-Final” episode of MasterChef. Photo provided by FOX

Nicole Ziege

A WKU alumnus found a recipe for success during his time on Fox televised cooking competition MasterChef, winning season 9 in Wednesday night’s finale.

Gerron Hurt, a 2015 WKU alumnus from Louisville, made it to the top three home cookers in MasterChef last week, beating out about 50 other contestants. 

Hurt said he did not expect to make it this far into the competition, and it has given him reassurance with his cooking skills.

“It made me feel really, really accomplished,” Hurt said.

MasterChef is a competitive cooking show on the FOX TV network that is now in its ninth season. Each episode includes contestants battling against one another in challenging elimination rounds. Chef Gordon Ramsey, chef Aaron Sanchez and restaurateur Joe Bastianich are featured as judges in the show.

Hurt said he was encouraged to audition for the show by his fiancé Brandi Beckham after seeing a commercial for auditions in Nashville, where he currently lives. He eventually was interviewed by the show’s producers and received a call to fly out to Los Angeles to be on the show.

Beckham, a 2014 WKU alumna from Lexington, said she strongly believed that Hurt needed to try out for the show because of his cooking skills, which she described as amazing.

“I feel like this moment was catered specifically for him,” Beckham said.

During last Wednesday’s episode, Beckham surprised Hurt by showing up on set, and she was able to watch him “in his cooking element” as he competed.

Watching that moment on TV, Beckham described the feeling as having butterflies in her stomach. She said she has enjoyed watching Hurt grow as a chef and as a person while competing on the show.

“It was really nice to see him come so far,” Beckham said.

Hurt started cooking when he was 5 years old. Growing up, he said he learned more about cooking from his mother and from watching cooking shows.

“They allowed me to study and hone in on my craft,” Hurt said.

Although he enjoyed cooking, Hurt said he wanted to become a teacher like his grandmother. He attended and graduated from WKU as a first-generation college student in 2015. Beckham and Hurt met while attending WKU.

After Hurt earned his master’s degree from Lipscomb University, he began teaching English at Lead Academy in Nashville, Tennessee.

Before being on the show, Hurt cooked for his fiancé, his seven siblings and his mother.

“Cooking is like trial and error,” Hurt said. “It just takes practice.”

As the winner of the show, Hurt will receive the MasterChef title and earn $250,000.

Before he won, Hurt said he would like to use the money to create a culinary program in the school where he teaches. He would also like to start a food truck to serve food in Louisville and Bowling Green.

“It is never too late to do something you want to do,” Hurt said.

Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.