Gerron Hurt saw his hard work pay off as he took home the coveted MasterChef title on season nine of Fox’s hit series.

The Nashville resident, who has taught English has at Nashville’s LEAD Academy High School, won $250,000 in prize money on Sept. 19.

“Throughout the season, Gerron displayed the drive and characteristics we so often ask of one another and, especially, our students,” said LEAD Academy’s CEO Dwayne Tucker.

“He was courageous in trying out for the show in the first place. He was committed, disciplined and self-reliant in his approach to the competition and the way in which he talked about his students and his passion for them was the very definition of serving others.”

Hurt received a Master’s degree in teaching at Lipscomb University and a ESL certification last spring. Hurt said he appreciates his time at Lipscomb for the relevant tools he received and strong foundation it provided.

“Lipscomb’s program really really prepared me to be able to truly accommodate my ELL students and differentiate my lesson plans accordingly,” said Hurt.

Impressively, Hurt was able to complete his Mater’s program while also filming MasterChef in Los Angeles.

Moving from a classroom into the high pressure kitchen came with mixed emotions. Hurt still recalls the intimidation he felt cooking for famous chef and judge, Gordon Ramsay.

“I actually cut myself the first time cooking in front of him because my nerves got the best of me,” said Hurt.

In order to get past his fears, Hurt had to remind himself that Gordon was a regular person, just like him. He also focused on the support he received from his friends and family. In fact, his fiancée Brandi Beckham was the first to encourage him to try out the cooking competition.

Hurt began experimenting in the kitchen at age 5. He credits his mother for teaching him the fundamentals of cooking, and his family tradition has helped inspire some of his dishes.

“I am all about food that speaks to the soul and food that is influenced by family,” said Hurt.

Following his success, Hurt continues pouring into the lives of others, especially children. He plans to participate in Camp MasterChef this summer and hopes to eventually start a culinary program at LEAD Academy.

“I would say [like] home [economics] without the washing clothes and stuff like that,” Hurt said of his dreams for the program. “And then just focus on like food sciences, ways to prepare simple dishes, and several cooking techniques.”

Fans should also keep an eye out for Hurt’s food truck, which is currently in the works. He hopes this will be a way to reach people in the Nashville community and beyond.

To stay updated with Hurt’s cooking career, follow him on on Twitter (@chefgerron) and Instagram (@chefgerron).

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