Christina Ha: The Blind Cook Who Turned Master Chef

If you watched season three of Fox TV’s actuality cooking exhibit “MasterChef,” you take note the massive smile that lit up Christine Ha’s face each time she impressed the judges with her daring flavors—and specially when her three-course meal of Vietnamese remedy meals gained Ha the “MasterChef” title.


What informal viewers may additionally no longer have realized right away is that the newbie cook dinner from Houston.

Texas, is blind. In 2003, Ha was once identified with neuromyelitis optica (NMO), a uncommon neurological situation that deteriorates the optic nerves and spinal cord.

By 2007, Ha had misplaced most of her vision. But she had regained her love of reading, with assist from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

“[NLS] reignited my love for literature. It used to be what stored me sane when I went via my first bouts of NMO,” says Ha, who additionally authors the weblog “When I went via some of my worst health troubles in 2003—complete paralysis from my neck down due to spinal inflammation, and entire blindness—all I may want to do was once lie in mattress and hear to NLS audiobooks.”

NLS, phase of the Library of Congress, oversees a free analyzing application for U.S. residents and residents dwelling overseas who are blind, have low vision, or can’t keep a e book due to the fact of a bodily disability. NLS consumers may also pick out from tens of lots of books and dozens of magazines in audio and braille—including dozens of cookbooks, such as “O, the Oprah Magazine Cookbook” and titles via Julia Child, James Beard, and different well-known foodies. NLS additionally loans the transportable playback tools wished to study its audiobooks. Computer-savvy purchasers can also get right of entry to books on line via the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service.

Ha, who is pursuing a grasp of quality arts diploma at the University of Houston, constantly has a e book checked out from NLS. Recently she used to be analyzing Gail Caldwell’s “Let’s Take the Long Way Home” in braille. And she presently is working on her “MasterChef” cookbook, which is set for a spring 2013 release.