MasterChef 2012: Blind Contestant Christine Ha Not Fully Blind

We have all come to love her on MasterChef 2012, but new information has come out on Christine Ha, the blind contestant on MasterChef season 3 that may be a surprise to some of her fans. Christine Ha has impressed me repeatedly with her ability to cook and plate food on MasterChef 2012 with being blind (and I’ll admit it, she has even made me cry), but Fox has announced that the stand-out competitor on MasterChef Season 3 is not actually 100% blind! She is legally blind, but she is not entirely sightless.

Come on now, you had to know this was somewhat true. Fox and MasterChef 2012 producers are trying to play up the sympathy card and these kind of stories make people tune in. Christine Ha makes for a good story, makes people cry and makes people want to see how she will do on MasterChef 2012. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christine and think she is completely sincere and has a great story and even with complete vision, I can not come anywhere close to being able to cook like she does, but I also think MasterChef 2012 is playing it up too much. Christine Ha is a good cook and let’s focus on that please!

Christine Ha gradually lost her sight between 1999 and 2007 due to an autoimmune disease called Neuromyelitis optica and has been very upfront with Fox and MasterChef 2012 about her condition. In a statement, Christine Ha from MasterChef season 3 explains her condition: “It’s a very common misconception that people think blindness is all or nothing, it’s not true at all. 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.”

So, Christine Ha of MasterChef 2012 is legally blind and things are blurry to her and you have to give her props for cooking up dishes she has so far on MasterChef season 3. Christine said, “My pupils are continually dilated. I was having a lot of trouble in the beginning.”

Fully blind or partially blind, blurry vision or 20/20 vision…I don’t care! Christine Ha on MasterChef season 3 is still one of my favorites and that won’t change. Do you agree? Check out one of those moments that brought me to tears below!

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  1. i love uu christine i mean. all dis mother fuckers are jst envious. ure awesome thumbsup

  2. Lou Cypher says:

    This was a total joke on fair competition, Christine is legally blind, but she is not entirely sightless, big difference. She had help with her cooking and was never on camera as much as the other contestants so you could not actually see her cooking anything. Baking an apple pie in 18 minutes is NOT POSSIBLE unless you add clever editing to your ingredients. So she can see somewhat but still needed an assistant to help her cook, sounds pretty unfair for the rest. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills her I swear. If you can’t see what’s being played right in front of you than you deserve to live in the world that they have created for you with Walmart and the most amazing bullshit.

  3. She is a FAKE because it was not STATED that I saw that she is only LEGALLY BLIND, SHE CAN SEE SOME !!! Blind people that I know of DO NOT look all around at the people talking to them !!!
    FOX is a JOKE network and they are much BIGGER FAKES !!
    Sports and a few shows are ok the rest are for the DUMB DOWNED MASSES NOW IN AMERICA, and that is SAD !!!!!

  4. Was she an awesome cook? obviously, but, I thought she was dramatizing, and the show was as well, around the 3rd episode. She was looking around too much to be totally blind. The fire episode, I think was a set up as well. Good story makes for good tv. What producer or television network in their right mind would let the blind lady work the fire? Too much liability, unless they knew what was going to happen. That’s just reality tv.

  5. wow…what disgust me.. As someone who is “legally blind,” I totally get what Christine is talking about…sometimes I feel like I have cold cream rubbed over my eyes..try seeing w/that!!! I am always afraid I am going to kill myself just taking a few steps across a room…I hope that whatever douche bag has the audacity to hate on Christine…never has to experience being legally blind..because then they would certainly have to eat their words.. Christine you simply rock!!!

  6. As someone who is legally blind I totally get what Christine is talking about…sometimes it seems like someone smeared vasaline over my eyes…and believe me it’s awful and you can definitely get in an accident and hurt yourself just trying to walk around a room…I can’t imagine cooking!!! people are so stupid who can’t even begin to relate to this….and I hope you never have to because if you did you would eat all the negative words you said about Christine!

  7. Todd,
    She talks about the visual part of her condition at the start of the shoe during her first episode.

    what she did not talk about was that she had been paralyzed below the neck, and that she has been fortunate that by doing chemo treatments every six months she has been able to regain her mobility.

    As for te helper, she does not taste, prepare, or make any significant decisions during the show. Given that Chritine is not working in a kitchen designed for the blind she gets help to bridge that gap.

    Imagine the difference of a task when you can just look at something, versus having to ask about it and then extrapilate what I looks like based on the perception and communication skills o another.

    • But that’s the point of being a chef. You have to be able to do all of it or nothing. It’s not Master and SOUS chef. A chef has to be able to determine colors and sears of meats and fried items to tell when they’re done.

      Christine can’t do that. Yes, her ‘helper’ DOES make significant decisions. Like the final when she’s said to ask if the noodles look right. Christine isn’t doing that. It’s not to say she’s not a good cook, but she is limited and just can’t do everything required of a chef.

      I know this because while I have all my faculties I am dealing with not being able to function in a kitchen because of a serious physical movement problem. Can I do most of what is required as a chef…? Absolutely. Is it enough? No. There is a line drawn and Christine hasn’t crossed it.

  8. I can’t stand Christine. She is a total fake. I think she sees a lot more than she says. And the nimrod judges are giving her a big edge. She spoils the show.

    • Finally!!! Of course she is playing at being much more blind than she actually is. She is constantly looking back and forth between the judges eyes and hands when they are tasting her dishes. Truly blind people do not look around when people are talikng to them. They also mentioned in a news article that Christine said she can count a person’s fingers at a distance of 12 inches. Counting fingers from 12 inches equals the ability to see what you ar cooking, where it is and how you are placing the food on a plate. I believe the favortism the judges have shown her because of her “bindness” is nauseating.

    • Christopher Beltran says:

      your an idiot…..

  9. And btw, one doesn’t need to have a fantastic palate to be able to cook half-decent food that is aggressively flavored with fish sauce, soy sauce, coconut milk, and other ready-made Asian sauces. These flavor profiles are the BASICS of any form of Asian cooking…. but one wouldn’t know that unless one grew up eating Asian cuisine. It’s no wonder that the show’s non-Asian judges are easily wowed by her “palate”. It’s like saying someone is a great cook because one made a tasty dish with ketchup and mustard. C’mon. It doesn’t take a genius to know that her audition dish alone did not get her onto the show — no, her “blindness” did. So, does someone with the following attributes deserve to make it this far in the competition? I’m not so sure.
    – has a handler do the tough work for her (food shopping, prep, time, plating, etc.)
    – is skilled at using ready-made sauces to cook
    – is being cut all the slack possible on the show and provided overwhelmingly positive feedback and reinforcement on almost every episode
    – does 50% of the credit for winning

    • **i meant: gets >=50% of the credit for winning in an equal-partnership challenge despite only doing <50% of the work (see the episode of her team challenge with partner Becky)

  10. EDITED: Personal attack comments are not allowed, no matter who they are directed at or why. Thanks.

  11. My husband absolutely HATES Christine and feels that she has an advantage over other contestants. 1. She has a handler, who picks out what she needs, and helps her with preparation. 2. Since American Idol’s Danny Goeke (spelling, sorry), everyone has to pull out the sympathy card.

    Yes, she cooks better than I ever could, but she is being portrayed as being completely blind, and it seems like she is more of a liability than anything, with everything timed, how does she use the knives, and damn, I wouldn’t be surprised if she started some more fires they didn’t show. It would be interesting to see what they don’t show on this “reality” show.

  12. lol! Todd, you’re an idiot!

  13. lol, Todd, your an idiot!

  14. Emanuel says:

    So MC12 should ignore her disability? I don’t understand what you mean by “playing it up too much” in reference to her being blind. This is not a documentary, it’s a reality show. Show me one reality show that doesn’t focus on interesting issues for ratings. Of course they want viewers, and as a writer you should know this. You reporting on this is no different from MC12. You wrote it because people will read it, because she is interesting. And all this to say “she’s not blind! She can see shapes and lights!”. Come on man!

    • Not only did you read my article, but you felt compelled enough to comment on it. As a writer, mission accomplished! Thank you!

      • You spelled cannot wrong. It is one word, not two, mister writer….
        AND – I am SO glad that Christine won! Also, she doesn’t have a “handler” she has an assistant.

    • In the most recent episode where Frank teamed up with Josh, and Christine teamed up with Becky, it was interesting to notice Becky plating and running back and forth between the counter and the plating table while Christine just stood in her spot staring around and not doing much. Could Christine have helped with plating, especially that missing rice cake? Ahem. This alerted me to something I had not thought before — Becky was burdened to do most of the work herself. Then I thought of how Christine has a handler to get her items, to tell her when something is done cooking/frying, to assist her with plating, etc. Essentially, she is not doing this competition by herself as the other contestants are.

      Granted, she is disabled, and has a good palate (this happens when you lose one of your senses – the other senses often become more enhanced, kind of super in some way) and sure, disabled people should be treated a little better than those who may be non-disabled (I would certainly accommodate them, so they can do their business); BUT think about this — would you think it is fair if a contestant, who say had no arms, and the show gave her a handler to do all the chopping, cooking, and plating? The contestant is disabled and treated specially. Fine. Good. But, would this be fair to the other contestants who have to do everything? I’m sure Christine would make a good food taster and critic, but to be a Master Chef? What does it take to be a Master Chef? It takes the whole package – a Master Chef has to be able to do it all by him or herself.

      Obviously, her blindness is a disadvantage. But, consider how slow Christine works at chopping and slicing and stirring, etc. Each challenge is timed, so if other contestants are barely getting their plating done by the final seconds, how is she able to prep, cook, and plate (very neatly and professionally) her own dishes on time – while legally blind?

      • Absolutely agree. She may be a good cook, but having someone tell you if your noodles look right, your ‘fried chicken’ (which was the issue with her pressure cooking her pork belly in the finals) crust is golden enough. The judges just look like wankers for not knowing that there is NO way she could have known that the crust was “perfectly crisp” and golden. Plus, and I don’t know if anyone noticed it except me, her eyes would focus on people speaking to her. I’m sorry, but I KNOW what it’s like for a blind person to have to direct their attention to a person who is addressing them. She FOCUSED her eyes on where the individual judges would be.
        Or what about her handler ‘telling’ her she’s touching a ‘ripe’ mango in the pantry? There are way too many facets that being a chef entails, being blind isn’t one of them.
        COME ON! I think MC is a joke. The first ‘winner’ made a chicken cutlet and greens as her final dish? AND SHE WON? They are sponsored by and pushing WALMART?
        I think they’ve lost the plot. I’m disgusted.

  15. “Is not a tally 100% blind!”. “She is not entirely sightless.” “Masterchef 2012 is playing it up too much.”

    No, Dee is not spreading false information, you are Todd. Yes the facts are accurate, but you make your opinion of the issue sound like the public is being duped for ratings. You imply, with your words, that because she isn’t absolutely 100% blind, then she’s not at a major disadvantage! You want to get the facts right and your article to be accurate? Then tell the whole story instead of leaving parts out, giving a false impression and implying she can see well enough to cook!

    Christine earned her way on that show just like anyone else. There has been VERY little mentioned about her disability! So your comment about “Masterche2012f playing it up too much” is in fact false. Christine has withheld nothing about her disability, Her sight is described as trying to make out shapes and colors in a mirror steamed over from a hot shower. For someone who is dealing with deboning, live lobster, and tiny garnishments, she may as well be 100% blind! I would like to see you try to handle a live lobster, cook it, and serve it in a professional way, all through a steamed up mirror.

    Yes, you say she can cook. Yes you gave facts. But NO, you didn’t give all the facts and your personal opinion was presented in a way that her disability isn’t really a hinderence in her Masterchef challenges. I’m with Dee. Shame on you for a poorly written piece on someone who fights all odds and continues to drive ahead with courage, strength and yet so humble.

    My wife and I both were quite irritated at the blatant ignorance of this article! We both greatly admire Christine’s drive and ambition, her courage to be on national TV where everyone could see her fail or possibly win. In her very short TV career, she has inspired people from 100% disabilities, to 100% healthy and whole, to strive for perfection, to try what they thought they couldn’t do, and most of all to believe in themselves. What an awesome human being! You Todd, should be ashamed of yourself for making her disability sound meaningless and the public duped. Whether you actually said the words or not, your words inferred it.

    • “So, Christine Ha of MasterChef 2012 is legally blind and things are blurry to her and you have to give her props for cooking up dishes she has so far on MasterChef season 3.”

      “I LOVE Christine and think she is completely sincere and has a great story and even with complete vision, I can not come anywhere close to being able to cook like she does”

      The article was written after Fox announced that Christine is not 100% blind and that is what I was writing about in this article. As a writer, I am here to give my opinions about the shows that I am watching. You think Fox isn’t playing this up, so be it. Re-watch the entire episode of her audition…it was all built up to see her audition last. The judges often mention her disability and being able to do what she does.

      • so then your not a reporter your a blogger get it right

      • A reasonable person would be able to see that, as in all networks, FOX is in the business of making money and increasing ratings. What is one of the most effective ways to increase ratings? By appealing to the sympathy of viewers, so they continue following the show. By keeping Christine on the show as long as possible, it keeps viewers tuned in. FOX is using Christine as a ploy to gain that sympathy, BUT, Christine is also taking this as an opportunity to gain that sympathy. How else has she been able to advance this far into the show? Remember that she has handlers who assist her with many tasks she is unable to do herself, and she miraculously (questionably!) gets all of her dishes plated and expertly presented on time. I would be totally amazed if she got this far into the show without a handler. Now that I would commend her. Only if. But it’s not.

        MCA, it’s time you see the light.

  16. Just to add fuel to the fire, I am officially classified as “legally blind”, I read the newspaper (when it’s no more than a few inches from my face$, can identify faces near me and can navigate my way through a crowd without a white cane – like everything in life there are spectrums and continumiums of measurement. I am in awe of all the contestants what great chefs!

  17. Shame on you for spreading the misinformation that a person who is blind has to see only darkness. Most people who are blind can *see* something. I don’t think anyone watched Christine thinking she was totally blind and I never heard her claim so.

    Shame on you.

    • dee, I am not sure why you are so negative in reaction to this piece, which does not actually include any misinformation about Christine that I am reading at all. Nor does it say anywhere in the piece that a ‘person who is blind has to see only darkness’ or that Christine every claimed she was totally blind. Thus, aren’t you kind of the person who is spreading misinformation?

    • I did.

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