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|Born||Christine Huyentran Hà
9 May 1979
Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
|Cooking style||Vietnamese, Asian fusion, Southeast Asian, Southern, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese|
Christine Huyentran Hà (Vietnamese: "Hà Huyền Trân"; born May 9, 1979) is an American chef, writer, and TV host. She is the first blind contestant of MasterChef and the winner of its third season in 2012.
Early and personal life
Hà was born in Los Angeles County, California, an only child. Her parents were of Vietnamese origin. She lived in Lakewood, California and Long Beach, California as a young child before her family moved to Houston, Texas. Her mother died from lung cancer when Hà was 14. Her paternal aunt also died from the same illness, even though both were non-smokers.[better source needed]
Hà suffers from neuromyelitis optica, in which a person's own immune system attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord. In 2004, she was diagnosed and gradually started losing her vision, and was almost completely blind by 2007. She describes her vision as "looking at a very foggy mirror after a hot shower". She uses adaptive technologies to help her manage her social media profiles by herself.
Hà received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and MIS from University of Texas at Austin in 2001, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Fiction and Nonfiction at the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program in 2012. She received the editor's poetry prize from The ScissorTale Review and was a finalist in the 2010 Creative Nonfiction MFA Program-Off contest.
Hà serves as Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast Journal and her work has appeared in Fire Point, The ScissorTale Review, and PANK Magazine, among others. In January 2014, she began hosting the cooking show Four Senses on AMI-TV.
2012: MasterChef USA & Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food
While she has never studied cooking, she has a large following on her food blog. She states: "I have to depend a lot more on the other senses to cook – taste, smell, how certain ingredients feel", adding that cooking without sight just involves "a lot of organization".
In the nineteen episodes where she competed on the third season of MasterChef, Hà won seven times in both individual and team challenges; additionally, she placed three times in the top three group. However, she was also in the bottom group twice. On September 10, 2012, Hà was announced the winner of the competition and took away $250,000, the MasterChef title, the MasterChef trophy, and a cookbook deal.
2013–present: Four Senses, Masterchef Vietnam and guest appearances
In 2013, Hà began co-hosting the Canadian TV show Four Senses with Carl Heinrich, the winner of Season 2 of Top Chef Canada. It is a cooking show geared towards the visually impaired, and airs on AMI (Accessible Media, Inc.) TV, a Canadian cable network designed to make television accessible to the vision and hearing impaired. To compensate for the vision-impaired, the show contains a great deal of audio description, where they are narrating what's going on in the kitchen, what they're doing, how things feel or smell or sound.
In 2015, she revealed on her blog and Facebook that she would become a judge on the third season of MasterChef Vietnam, having been a guest judge in the previous series, and a guest judge of US MasterChef (season 4), making her the first former contestant and winner worldwide to become a regular judge, and also the third ever female judge after Michal Ansky of Israel and Christina Tosi. In the meantime, she also returned along with Luca Manfé and Courtney Lapresi as guests of US MasterChef (season 6). Later in the year, she also made an appearance in MasterChef Celebrity Showdown in the battle of "Champions vs Juniors", where she, alongside Season 4 winner Luca Manfe and Season 6 winner Claudia Sandoval, cooked against 3 contestants from MasterChef Junior season 4 in a Salmon Wellington tag team battle. The three champions emerged as the winner and donate their winnings to their chosen charity.
She also revealed that she was the first chef/author to become the winner of Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award in 2014, an award to people and organizations that "demonstrated outstanding achievement in improving quality of life for people with vision loss". Past/current winners included musicians Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Tom Sullivan, actor Charlie Cox (who portrayed a blind superhero, Matt Murdock/Daredevil, was awarded in June 2015) and businessman Bernard A. Newcomb.
- Ngô Minh Trí (2012-10-07). "Vua bếp Mỹ quảng bá hương vị Việt". Thanh Nien News. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "THE BIRTH OF CHRISTINE HA". California Birth Index. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- Aaron Parsley; Liza Hamm (2012-06-04). "Christine Ha Is MasterChef's First Blind Contestant". People. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- RYAN OWENS and MEREDITH FROST (2012-09-11). "Blind Chef Christine Ha Crowned 'MasterChef' in Finale". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
- Rene Lynch, 'MasterChef' finalist Christine Hà on being blind, and a fighter, LA Times, September 5, 2012
- Masterchef US Season 3 Episode 19
- Christine's Twitter
- Olivia Fleming (2012-06-07). "The talented cook who is holding her own on Gordon Ramsay's Masterchef - despite being completely blind". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
- Blind chef serves up tough competition, FoxNews, September 09, 2012
- Episode 4: How the Blind Email, Tweet, and Blog (or "Yes, That's Really Me on Facebook!")
- Christine Ha at Zoominfo
- "The Art of Food and Literature". Gulf Coast - A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
- "Four Senses set to premiere on AMI-tv" (Press release). AMI-TV. January 21, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- Joe Bastianich Blogs: Why Christine Ha Won MasterChef, People, 09/11/2012
- "Four Senses". www.ami.ca. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
- Newspaper, Tuoi Tre. "American chef Christine Ha to judge MasterChef Vietnam". tuoitrenews.vn. Retrieved 2015-08-28.
- "Helen Keller Achievement Awards 2015 - American Foundation for the Blind". www.afb.org. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- "The American Foundation for the Blind Helen Keller Achievement Award Recipients - American Foundation for the Blind". www.afb.org. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
- The Blind Cook (blog from Christine Hà)
- Christine Hà on Facebook
- Christine Hà on Twitter
- Rene Lynch, 'MasterChef' finalist Christine Ha on being blind, and a fighter, LA Times, September 5, 2012
- Video Inspiring MasterChef USA Audition (Season 3 Episode 1) - Christine Ha: Blind Chef , on June 11, 2012
- Video MasterChef US - Season 3 Episode 20 - Final Winner !, on September 10, 2012
- Video Christine Ha at Entertainment Tonight