"MasterChef" is a Fox reality show in which a group of talented amateur chefs compete for a group of professional chef judges, including Gordon Ramsey, for the title of MasterChef and a cash prize of $250,000. One of the competitors for the current season starting today is Christine Ha who, according to the Houston Chronicle, is from Houston and is blind.
Ha has been blind from the age of 19
According to the Houston Chronicle, Ha, 33, lost her sight at 19 due to Neuromyelitis optica. According to the Mayo Clinic, Neuromyelitis optica is an autoimmune disease which, among other things, attacks the optic nerves and can, as it did in the case of Ha, cause blindness.
Ha won a place in the contest with a braised fish dish
Ha was able to gain entry to the top 100 chefs for the "MasterChef" competition with a braised castfish in a clay pot dish, a part of her ancestral Vietnamese comfort cuisine, according to the Houston Chronicle. In Vietnamese, this dish is called Ca Kho To.
Ha cooks by being organized
Ha is able to cook while blind by being organized, knowing in advance which ingredients and kitchen tools are in advance. She also has talking scales and thermometers as well as reliance on her other senses to aid her. The sound of a sizzling pan filed with water or the smell of cooking garlic provide clues for her during the cooking process.
Ha blogs about the Houston food scene
Besides cooking, Ha blogs about the Houston food scene. In one recent entry in the Houston Press, she commented on Christy's Donut Shop, which served breakfast pastries at a location near Houston's Montrose neighborhood. Another entry recounted her adventures in making home brewed beer.
The MasterChef competition will be challenging
The MasterChef competition is a challenge even for sighted chefs, not the least of which is because of the tendency of Ramsey to use anger and intimidation as motivation tactics. The first test will be to prepare a signature dish for the judges, which will also include restaurateur Joe Bastianich and chef Graham Elliot. The 100 entrants will be culled to 36 in the two-part premier of season three of "MasterChef."
Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.