HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A new Hattiesburg resident will appear on FOX's Season 7 of Master Chef. Nathan Barnhouse, 20, said his experience on the show has taught him a lot about himself.
"My experience on Master Chef was amazing, you know, getting ready for the apron battle is definitely stressful, but I had an overwhelming peace during the whole situation," said Barnhouse.
At an early age Barnhouse was constantly bullied. When he was 10 years old he said bullies threw him into his church's dumpster.
Barnhouse said, "I was discouraged and did not want to do sports or anything." He added, "I was told that whenever I did sports I looked like I was have a seizure anytime I ran."
When Barnhouse was 16, his parents moved to Africa for a mission trip and that's where he found strength to be in his own skin. "When I was there, I got this overwhelming peace of people who did not judge me."
He said being in Africa changed his life. "The people accepted me for who I was and for who God made me."
Barnhouse added that being in the kitchen and cooking helps him overcome his past.
"When I am in the kitchen I am just a completely different person," Barnhouse said. He explained that taking different ingredients and making it into something else astonishes him. "(There's) something about cooking, you're evolving things that are nothing and making them into something great. Kind of how God gave me strength and courage to evolve into something great."
Barnhouse does not want to be known just for his cooking, he hopes his presence on Master Chef will show kids who are bullied they can overcome adversity.
"They do not have to be bullied, and even if they do not get on a TV show, your life has meaning and do not let other people tell you what that is," said Barnhouse.
Win or lose, Nathan is proud of everything he accomplished on Master Chef.
The television show premiers June 1.