“If you lost your vision, what would you miss most? What could you do to be able to enjoy it again? This is a challenge for you to think creatively.”
Those are the words of Christine Ha, the first visually challenged contestant to win the competitive cooking show, MasterChef. The Vietnamese-American’s cooking skills brought her into the limelight when she participated in the third season of the reality show in the US in 2012.
Ha overcame great obstacles while performing cooking challenges and even earned effusive praise (video below) from Gordon Ramsay, a celebrity chef known for his fiery temper on the reality show.
Ha is also a writer and blogger from Houston, Texas and currently documents her daily life in her YouTube video series called Blind Life of Christine Ha.
“People ask me, how can you cook if you are blind? It’s like any other challenge in life, you just face it head on and hope for the best,” she points out as she prepares her typical weeknight supper with a camera on her head.
Ha can be seen taking a few seconds to feel the ingredients and utensils in her hand, before quickly chopping the vegetables to cook red snapper steamed with black bean sauce and Sichuan green beans.
If you’re already feeling hungry, here’s a video of Ha trying out Indian cuisine in the London restaurant Dishoom.
Ha began losing her eyesight at the age of 19, when she was diagnosed with a rare disease called neuromyelitis optica in one eye, a condition where her weak immune system gave away to damage of the optic nerves and spinal cord. By 2007, she became visually impaired.
But the disability never stopped her from cooking or trying out new things. In the video below, Ha shows how she puts on makeup just like how she used to do during the filming of MasterChef.