With a new season of MasterChef 2013 kicking off tomorrow night, it is a perfect time for MasterChef Season 3 winner Christine Ha to release her winning cookbook, Recipes From My Home Kitchen. The journey Christine Ha took while competing on Season 3 was amazing and she brought a tear to my eye every episode. I was rooting for her from the beginning and was shocked that someone legally blind could cook so amazingly well. What will MasterChef Season 4 bring us? Time will tell, but we caught up with Season 3 winner Christine Ha to talk about her new cookbook, life after winning and much more. Check out our exclusive interview in our MasterChef 2013 spoilers below!
Todd, Gossip & Gab: What has life been like since winning Season 3 of MasterChef?
Christine: My life has changed 180°. I have made a guest appearance on the inaugural season of “MasterChef” Vietnam, been traveling cross-country to give keynote addresses and perform cooking demonstrations, and best of all, I wrote my first very own cookbook.
Todd, Gossip & Gab: The new cookbook is officially on the shelves. What was it like getting a chance to write that?
Christine: It was a whirlwind. I was told I had about a third of the time to write the cookbook that a normal cookbook of that caliber would take, so you can imagine how many crazy days in the kitchen and sleepless nights at the desk I’ve had. It was painful, but like giving birth (so I’ve been told), once the finished book is in your hands, you are ecstatic and immediately forget about all the stress that went into producing it. I’m extremely happy with and proud of the book. When Gordon had asked me which prize I wanted most — the MasterChef trophy, the $250,000 monetary prize, or the cookbook deal—I replied without any hesitation that it was the cookbook. So this has been a dream come true. I am excited to finally be able to share my story and recipes with the world.
Todd, Gossip & Gab: There are a ton of recipes in the book, but is there one recipe in the book that is a must-cook for the reader?
Christine: It all depends on the reader’s skill level and whatever happens to strike his/her fancy that day. I would say, however, that a must-try would be my mama’s eggrolls—they’re tedious but well worth it. They’re fantastic. I reverse-engineered her recipe after she passed away and left me none, and I must say, after many trials and errors and careful memory jogging using my other senses, I’ve been able to recreate the dish quite well.
Todd, Gossip & Gab: I love to eat, but I’m not the greatest at cooking. Are there recipes in your cookbook that even I could handle?
Christine: Yes, most definitely. I understand the need for non-fussy recipes—ones that have a manageable list of ingredients and that don’t require super fancy kitchen equipment or techniques. I understand that after a busy workday, people are often too tired to prepare elaborate meals. There are recipes for cooks of all levels in my cookbook; from the novice to the expert, there’s something for everyone. Some simple dishes include bruschetta, candied bacon, grilled beef short ribs, meatloaf, Thai basil clams, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and more.
Todd, Gossip & Gab: Has your cooking style changed at all since winning MasterChef last season?
Christine: My overall cooking style hasn’t changed, but I’m even more confident in my culinary abilities than before. I trust my instincts and palate much more so.
Todd, Gossip & Gab: Any advice for people wanting to try out for MasterChef or for the new batch of contestants for Season 4?
Christine: Be yourself, and cook what you love. It will show. There is no need to get too fancy—remember that these judges have tasted the finest foods in the world, so there is little you can do to blow their minds. But if you stay true to yourself and cook with your heart, you will succeed.
Todd, Gossip & Gab: Anything to add?
Christine: I hope you enjoy my first cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen. You can get my latest updates and see what I’ve been up to by visiting my blog, my Facebook fan page or following my Twitter handles: @theblindcook, @MC3Christine and @ChristineHHa.
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