Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"The Blind Chef" takes Masterchef Season 3 - Congrats Christine Ha

Congrats Christine Ha for winning Master Chef yesterday! Her final menu consisted of Thai papaya salad with crab and mixed vegetables, braised pork belly with rice, crispy kale and maitake mushrooms topped with a quail egg, and coconut lime sorbet with a ginger tuile. She took something my mom would have made on a special occasion and totally elevated it!

Hailing from Houston, Texas, Christine beat out a very talented 24-year-old, Josh Marks, to take the Master Chef third season prize. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a Vietnamese American and African American in the finale, and would have been happy if either won. Though I took offense to the racist and classist remark made by host Gordon Ramsey, “The dish has Vietnamese background…but we’re not in Vietnam, and we’re not home...You’re in the final of MasterChef." In a perfect world, Christine could have retorted with, "Kiss my yellow Vietnamese Masterchef ass and give me my prize asshole!" Aside from the title of Masterchef, Christine earned a quarter of  a million dollars and her own cook book.

Remarkably, Christine suffers from NMO, or Neuromyelitis Optica. Essentially her own immune system has been attacking her spinal cord and optic nerves. Because of this, she suffers from permanent vision loss and has been receiving chemo treatment since 2008 to slow down the progression of the disease. Ironically, her blindness has elevated her sense of taste, convincing the judges she had to most sophisticated and nuanced palate in the competition. 

Christine stood out from the thousands of home cooks nationwide to make the top 100 contestants for the face off to win the grand prize because producers of Masterchef discovered her blog, theblindcook.com. Oh, a top political think tank may discover monkeylounge yet and put us on television. Dare to dream! In any case, for Christina's blog, she used her culinary skills and expertise as a writer to good use. She is currently in Master's of Fine Arts in writing at the University of Houston, and intends to finish in spite of her overnight fame. Aside from goals such as opening up eateries, she also wants to write a memoir and fiction.

She certainly has a story to tell with her amazingly trying life. She said this during Masterchef, "My mother was a very good home cook, but I took it for granted. She passed away when I was 14 and left me no recipes. I've been trying to recreate her recipes ever since." If that does not tear out your heart, I do not what can. But, like many immigrants that are surrounded monumental events, she doesn't see herself as that unique and simply wants to overcome issues to make her dreams come true. Chef's hat off to you!


connan said...

I was happy to see these two contestants in the finale, because it was obvious that they were the most talented contestants their. I have no idea how Christine cooks so well being blind, and I don’t think Chef Ramsay knows either. “Masterchef” and “Hell's Kitchen” has become my favorite cooking shows to watch (more then Paula Deans cooking show). Since the season has started I've put my normal prime time shows on hold, but my Hopper recorded all of them for me automatically! My Dish coworker told me that my Hopper has a Primetime Anytime feature that automatically records all of my prime time shows that come on CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC everyday in HD. I no longer have to remember which one of my favorite shows air so I can set the DVR timer to record, because the Hopper does the thinking for me. If I choose to watch one of these recorded shows that day after it’s aired, I can skip my recorded commercials using the Auto Hop feature. I've never had a better whole-home DVR then this one, and theirs a lot more amazing things that this DVR can do!

quetuofive said...

Bravo Judges, whom got it right this time! Except giving an obviously poor to below average cook, David Martinez, a "sympathetic job". I don't know what Graham could have possible seen in this bumbling chef, his own words were: I mean, there are things that I cook really well - eggs, mac and cheese, pate, beef - but to call yourself a master takes years of practice, and I just don’t think I’m there yet". Really, and with those words being said gives you a job, what was he thinking????