Wednesday, August 29, 2012

MasterChef ~ Christine Ha: Cooking, not by Sight, but from Memory and a Strong Palette

Two cooking shows that I’m watching this season are Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef. Soon each show will be crowing the winners.

This is the first season for MasterChef to have a legally blind contestant, home chef, Christine Ha. It has been a treat to watch her cook. She has a guide to help her around the kitchen and pantry and she may occasionally ask the guide if her plate looks all right. That’s where it stops. She does all the preparation and cooking; her sense of memory, smell, and taste are her most important allies throughout this competition.

During one team challenge, an outside barbeque, Christine was put in charge of grilling corn. The corn skins caught fire and she wasn’t aware until someone shouted, “Fire!” A team member came to the rescue and all was under control after that. Even with that mishap, she bounced back and the team managed to produce a winning meal that was victorious over the other team.

An episode where she won the individual challenge to replicate a dish that chef Graham Elliot had prepared was one of my favorites. It was a sashimi dish that was beautiful in presentation. She nailed it. She outdid her competitors in knife skills, presentation, and taste. Simply impressive.

On last night’s episode, what stood out to me was when chef Ramsey asked the guest judges if they were surprised to see that Christine was blind. One of the chefs replied that in the kitchen he tells his chefs to, “practice in the kitchen until you can do it with your eyes closed.”

This is a small clip from a past episode showing an emotional Christine as she receives feedback and encouragement from chef Ramsay.

Christine’s Apple Pie on MasterChef

Christine is truly an inspiration. In a TVGuide interview I learned that she studied to be a fiction writer. Perhaps she will work on a book one day and publish it!


connan said...

You can’t deny the talent Christine Ha has in the kitchen especially with her being blind. This season's "Masterchef" was pretty amazing. The last four contestants are really strong cooks and I hope that Joshua wins the competition. I would have probably missed more then half of this season’s episodes if it was not for my new Hopper that my Dish coworker talked into getting. The Hoppers Primetime Anytime feature is what made me want the Hopper because it automatically records all of my prime time shows that come on CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC everyday in HD. I don’t have to manage these recordings because my DVR deletes them for me after eight days, and I can view these recordings from any of my four rooms in my house.

Rebb said...

The final two! I'm cheering for Christine. They are both great home chefs. May the best chef win.