Continuing our Alchemy Series (sponsored by Wells Fargo and Prudential), we speak with world-renowned Chef, Christine Ha, who happens to be blind. Jeff and Erik listen as Christine talks about her artistry, her passion for cooking, and her journey to become the high-level Chef she is today.
Christine Ha lost her vision over the course of a few years in her early twenties due to a neurological condition called neuromyelitis optica, which affects the optic nerves and spinal cord. Hosts, Jeff and Erik, speak with Christine about the challenges she faces as a blind Chef, and through their conversation, they discover that her tenacity and strength has been a mainstay of her personality since childhood.
Christine’s resume is impressive: she is the first-ever blind contestant and season 3 winner of the competitive amateur cooking television show “MasterChef” with Gordon Ramsay. She defeated over 30,000 home cooks across America to secure the coveted MasterChef title, a $250,000 cash prize, and a cookbook deal.
She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the nationally acclaimed Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, where she served as Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast literary journal, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin. She is currently working on her memoir and second cookbook.
Christine’s first cookbook, Recipes From My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food, was a New York Times best-seller. She has been featured on NPR, the BBC, and CNN International, and travels around the globe to give keynote addresses and TEDx talks. Christine has also spoken about disability advocacy at the United Nations and served as a culinary envoy overseas for the American Embassy as part of cultural diplomacy programs in Jordan, Serbia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, and Croatia. She was a co-host on the Canadian cooking show “Four Senses” and a judge on “MasterChef” Vietnam.
Christine received the 2014 Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind, a recognition formerly bestowed upon Ray Charles, Patty Duke, and Stevie Wonder among others. Christine’s first restaurant, The Blind Goat, is now open in Houston.