Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CHRISTINE HA THE BLIND COOK HOUSTON MASTERCHEF CONTESTANT

I'm not sure how many of you are watching, but this season of the FOX TV show MasterChef has been great.  One of the standout reasons to watch is a local favorite of ours, fellow Houstonian Christine Ha.
MasterChef, courtesy of FOX TV
She is very talented, genuine and kind and she is an awesome inspiration to everyone.  Why is she such an inspiration?  She is legally blind!  Yes, blind.  She suffers from a degenerative condition that is called  Neuromyelitis Optica and has gradually lost her vision over a period of years.  But that diagnosis didn't and hasn't stopped her from living her life to the fullest.  That means she's not just a nice "feel good story" for the show's backstory, she really is a valid contender and potential winner that we hope goes all the way. 

We are continually amazed as week after week she competes with the other home cooks to win the coveted title of MasterChef, which also includes a cookbook deal.  She certainly doesn't let her limitation hold her back and quite the contrary, she fights even harder to overcome it, winning several challenges, and being team leader as well.  She does things with food I couldn't hope to do, and I'm sighted.  It's really nice to see that the judges don't give her any special treatment (and something tells me she wouldn't let them anyway).  She's expected to do the same thing that everyone else in the competition is doing and she does it with grace and determination.  We will even admit to shedding a tear or two as she pushes herself to the limit in every episode.  Does she win every time?  No.  In fact, she has ended up in the bottom group a number of times (last night to be one of them) but she always takes her criticism from the judges, learns from it and comes back better the next week.

To me, it's just fascinating to see her in action while cooking in the kitchen.  It doesn't matter what, chopping, slicing, frying, baking, she does it all.  In recent interviews, she has explained that her other senses have come to help her in cooking in ways you wouldn't expect.  For example, she listens for the sound of water sizzling in a hot pan to know when it's ready. The smell of garlic in time to catch it before it becomes bitter.  The feel of meat to know what temperature and doneness level it's at.
Christine Ha, courtesy of The Blind Cook
I think that is one of the things that appeals to us about her; she's a breath of fresh air in the world of "reality television".  She is humble and genuine and truly an inspiration to everyone, sighted or not.

Her 'about me' quote on her homepage says it all...
"feeling my way through food, tasting my way through life".

You go Christine, we're with you all the way!

1st Man and 2nd Man are firmly TEAM CHRISTINE!

Please click here to visit her blog The Blind Cook

2 comments:

rebecca said...

Oh my gosh, we love her too! She is SO inspirational. What an amazing lady. Maybe you'll run into her somewhere at a store or something someday.

bryan b said...

Yes, love this season so far. I actually started watching to see her, I was just so impressed that there was a blind contestant on the show I wanted to see how she did and now I'm hooked. Go Chrstine, we're rooting for you.