In Season 3 of Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef, the show got its first blind contestant – 33-year-old Christine Ha. Diagnosed in 1999 with neuromyelitis optica, a condition of the central nervous system that affects the optic nerves and spinal cord, Christine’s vision has gradually faded over the past ten years. She now has to walk with a cane or be guided by holding someone’s arm.
However, Christine relies on her other senses to the complete tasks on MasterChef.
“It’s hard to see ingredients. I have to figure out by smell and touch if an ingredient is fresh. Cutting with knives – fortunately, I’m pretty careful and I have a proper knife technique. Since I’ve lost my vision, I’ve cut myself once. And it was minor. I’ve never had to get stitches. It’s really about being organized, careful and using my other senses.”
Gordon Ramsay, who’s gotten a reputation for being a harsh critic and making people feel awful, proved that he can also do the exact opposite. When he gave the contestants the task of baking an apple pie, we saw this as he judged Christine’s creation. You have to see this!
Remarking on how flustered Christine was during the pie challenge, Ramsay goes on to analyze the blind contestant’s pie.
“What do you think this pie looks like?”
When Christine meekly replies that it probably looks “like rubbish,” Ramsay explains in great detail how her pie looks.
“Visually it looks stunning. A nice crisp, dark brown color on the edge. The sugar has almost glazed the pastry and it looks as delicious as Frank’s. So stop doubting yourself. Be bold. Pie underneath the pastry looks cooked. Do you hear that on top? Good and crusty. So stop feeling upset with yourself. You’ve got to start believing in yourself.”
Everyone in the room is nearly in tears and touched beyond words, Christine especially. As Gordon cuts into her apple pie and tastes it, he verifies that it tastes “awesome” as all other chefs and judges applaud. It’s a beautiful moment on the show, one that won’t be forgotten.
Despite the supportive moment with Gordon, Christine says she gets treated no differently than the other contestants.
Christine is just extremely talented! You have to see her nail this Crab Caviche Cocktail, despite being assigned the hazardous task of working with live crabs by a contestant that tried to sabotage her! Gordon Ramsay is, once again, impressed!
Christine went on to become the Season 3 MasterChef winner. Her journey to the top is an inspiring one. Through tears, she said:
“I just can’t believe that I’m the MasterChef. This has been the most amazing experience. After all the obstacles I’ve been through, going up against such awesome amazing cooks … I’m living proof that dreams come true against all odds.” [source]