Mar 18, 2021
Can you imagine losing your ability to see? At 20 years old,
this became Christine Ha’s reality. Instead of losing faith or
focusing on what she had lost, she used it as her inspiration to
pursue her life’s passion: cooking.
Christine joined the competitive cooking reality TV show
Masterchef, hosted by notoriously
hard-to-please celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
Christine won MasterChef Season 3, has hosted her own
show, opened her own restaurant, written a New York Times
bestseller Recipes from my Home Kitchen and so much
In a season of great uncertainty for many of us, Christine's
story of resilience, courage and passion will speak to your
- As an only Christine struggled to balance embracing her
American roots and her family’s heritage.
- Growing up as a first-generation Vietnamese-American, Christine
struggled yet is now grateful for an enriched childhood.
- While losing her mom at 14, Christine maintained a strong
connection to her mom’s culture by living with her grandparents +
- At 20, Christine began experiencing optic nerve inflammation,
causing blurry vision and shifting her life’s perspective.
- Before being properly diagnosed with Neuromyelitis optica
(NMO), Christine suffered from spinal cord inflammation leading to
paralysis from the neck down.
- Learning to live with vision loss: For years,
Christine was constantly adapting to gradual vision loss causing
her to re-learn how to accomplish daily tasks.
- Building confidence: Leaning on her network of
support + local resources for adapting to a later-in-life
disability, Christine learned how to use public transportation, use
a white cane and read Braille.
- Celebrate the small victories: Starting with a
peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Christine took small steps to
relearn her culinary skills, giving her courage to continue.
- With the encouragement of her husband and friends, Christine
auditioned for MasterChef only anticipating it’d be
material for her creative writing.
- Fake it until you make it. Try your best, and
if you believe it then eventually you will get there.
- “In spite of my disability, I was able to compete with the best
- Second-guessing: While facing numerous
disadvantages, Christine found not being able to see what her
competitors were preparing as an advantage.
- As a female Asian-American in the male-dominated culinary
field, Christine found her success on MasterChef gave her
confidence + courage.
- During each grueling challenge, Christine expected the worst
and hoped for the best. In the final round, shocked + exhausted,
Christine moved Gordon Ramsey to tears and was crowned the
- “I wouldn’t ask for my vision back because my life has gotten
better. It’s taught me gumption and fearlessness. My life is fuller
now because I reach for things that I love like writing and cooking
which I would not have done. I would have lived a safe life.”
- The Blind Goat: a twist on her nickname “The
Blind Cook” and being born the year of the goat, Christine’s first
restaurant is a modern Vietnamese gastropub. Learn
- Xin Chao: meaning “hello” in Vietnamese was
opened during the pandemic features modern Vietnamese dishes.
Learn more here.
- Despite losing between 50-80% of expected revenue during the
pandemic, Christine maintains hope + faith.
- Advice to those facing struggles: “I don’t like saying ‘things
will get better’ because it’s a promise I can’t hold. I’d tell them
things can suck and while I don’t know exactly what it feels like
to be in their shoes, I’ve had my own struggles. Surround yourself
with the right support network + be willing to ask for help and you
will find the strength to make it through.”
CHRISTINE HA'S LIVE INSPIRED
1. What is the best book you’ve ever
read? Angela's Ashes by Frank
2. What is a characteristic or trait that you
possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited
today? I was less concerned about others.
3. Your house is on fire, all living things and
people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one
item. What would it be? My MacBook Air because
it has all my photos and recipes.
4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a
gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long
conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it
be? Mother Theresa and ask, “what’s life like on the
5. What is the best advice you’ve ever
received? Believe in yourself.
6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old
self? Don’t care about the superficial things. You
need to find out who your true friends are.
7. It’s been said that all great people can have
their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to
read? Christine Ha led the best life and was the best
person she could be in the time that she lived.
Join our Live Inspired Together community, text
PODCAST2021 to 314-207-5010.
About our sponsor: Keeley Companies
wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the
results will follow. They set themselves apart with a
forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and
fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud
sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast.
Learn more about Keeley