The legally blind Master Chef Winner of 2012 proves she's unstoppable! Chef, writer, TV host, world traveler-- and now opening her first restaurant in 2018!
Christine Ha began to gradually lose her vision at the age of twenty from an autoimmune disease called Neuromyelitis Optica. She describes her sight as seeing vague shapes and shadows. www.theblindcook.com/about/
Out of necessity while attending college in her sophomore year, Christine decided to teach herself how to cook, burning food and making a mess all over the floor. Eventually she began to enjoy the process, comparing cooking to science and art. It also made her feel good to bring joy to others with her cooking.
She began experimenting by relying on her memories of taste and smell of her mother's cooking. She cooked for her roommate in her first few attempts, and then began to cook for others, bringing a feeling of satisfaction and realizing her passion for it.
When the producers of Master Chef were auditioning in different cities, Christine was encouraged to try out. Her story was an interesting one, and she felt maybe she would get through the first round. People were interested to see how a blind person can cook.
Christine was the first blind contestant in its third season and winner in 2012. She has since written a recipe book called "Recipes from my Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food" which is a big seller on Amazon. www.iszerotohero.com/how-to-be-stong-with-good-courage-like-christine-ha-the-inspiring-blind-chef
Christine goes by seven good lessons in her life journey:
1. Utilize mental energy wisely
2. Reframe negative thinking
3. Work to achieve and set up goals
4. Monitor progress carefully
5. Accept discomfort for a more significant purpose
6. Always be grateful
7. Live in line with your values
Recently Christine announced earlier this year in 2018 she will open her first restaurant in the swanky downtown Bravery Chef Hall in Houston, Texas, calling it the Blind Goat. www.chron.com/entertainment/restaurants-bars/art5icle/Christine-Ha-to-join-Bravery-Chef-Hall-12793570.php
It will include a menu based on Nhau cuisine-- Vietnamese drinking food. It's her first food concept since her Master Chef win. After traveling the world doing pop-ups, TV show appearances and interviews, Christine's dream is finally becoming a reality!
In 2014, Christine Ha received the Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind, a recognition formerly awarded to Ray Charles, Patty Duke and Stevie Wonder among others.
Christine believes in not allowing her physical challenges in life hold her back. Instead they have taught her to pursue her passions rather than fear failure. "Live a full life-- tend to your mental and emotional needs as well as your professional goals." http://dailycampus.com/stories/2018/2/2/christine-ha-talks-empowerment-through-disability