Chef Gordon Ramsay is infamous for ripping apart contestants on his cooking competition shows, “MasterChef” and “Hell’s Kitchen.” He is frequently brutal and scathing in his critcisms, and many a competitor has left the shows looking devastated by the experience. A lot of people wondered how “MasterChef”’s first blind contestant, Christine Ha, would fare competing under the extremely critical eye of Ramsay and whether he would cut her any slack, given her disability.
At least for now, it appears that Ramsay is going to treat Ha in the same brutally honest fashion that he treats the other contestants. While she has not yet made one of the worst dishes on the show, which would have put her at risk of being eliminated, Ramsay and MasterChef”’s two other judges, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, have criticized some of her recent dishes.
Because the show involves a number of competitions that involve moving about the set and picking out items, MasterChef does provide Ha with an assistant. So far, the assistant has been allowed to tell Ha the type of ingredients that are available in the pantry and then pick up the ones the blind chef tells her she wants to use.
Ha, who is 33 years old, was not born blind. She lost her sight gradually over the years due to an auto-immune condition called neuromyelitis optica. She first lost sight in one eye in 1999, and then gradually lost most of her sight in the other eye. Ha claims that her blindness has heightened her other senses, which she believes has actually helped her become a better cook. According to the New York Post, “MasterChef” approached Ha about appearing on the show after it had learned of her blog, theblindcook.com.
Unlike most of the other cooking competition shows, where the contestants are usually already working on the professional level, all of the contestants on “MasterChef” are amateurs who want to become chefs. The winner gets $250,000 and the title, “MasterChef.”