Christine Ha, The Blind MasterChef


Bryan Lim, Staff Writer

Christine Ha is an American chef and is mostly known as the first-ever blind contestant of the hit TV show, MasterChef. She was the winner of MasterChef season three in 2012. Ha was born in Los Angeles, California, on May 9, 1979. Her parents were from Vietnam and moved to the United States in 1975. Ha later moved from Long Beach, California, to Houston, Texas. When she was 14 years old, her mother passed away due to lung cancer.

In 1999, Ha was an undergraduate at the University of Texas and experienced blurry vision in one eye. The blurriness persisted, so she decided to go to a neuro-ophthalmologist, a professional who specializes in vision problems. They suspected that she had multiple sclerosis, also known as MS. In 2004, she was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica, also known as NMOSD. Neuromyelitis optica is a disorder that affects the eye nerves and spinal cord. She slowly lost her vision and went completely blind by 2007. 

“From a medical standpoint, doctors call my vision ‘counting fingers.’ If you hold your hand 10 to 12 inches from my face, I could count your fingers as long as the lighting isn’t too dark or glaring. The way I often describe it is that it’s like if you take a really hot shower and then you look into the foggy bathroom mirror, where you only see vague shapes and shadows,” Christine Ha said in an article from Entertainment Weekly.

Ha later graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance at the University of Texas and earned herself a master’s of fine arts in Creative Fiction and Nonfiction. She later competed on season three of MasterChef. On Sept. 10, 2012, it was announced that she was the winner. She was awarded $250,000, the MasterChef title, a cookbook deal, and the MasterChef trophy.

After winning, Ha began co-hosting the TV show Four Senses with Carl Heinrich in 2013. Carl Heinrich was the winner of season two of Top Chef Canada, another popular TV show. In 2015, she also became a judge on season three of MasterChef Vietnam. She has traveled around the world to open small-scale restaurants and to give talks about her experiences as being a blind cook.

Overall, Christine Ha is a very talented and respected cook who uses her wits and quick thinking to cook delicious meals. To her, being blind doesn’t matter when it comes to cooking, and she proved that by winning MasterChef and opening many restaurants around the world. She has given many speeches about her experiences and inspired many people. 


Photo courtesy of THEBLINDGOAT.COM