Christine Ha Is The New Master Chef
This season's Master Chef started out with a bang, introducing the first blind contestant, Christine Ha, 33, a grad student from Texas who was diagnosed with a central nervous system disorder in1999 that caused her vision to start to deteriorate. Much to fans' delight, Ha made it to the finals, being a favorite of judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. At the bitter end, only Ha and Josh Marks, 24, an Army contract specialist from Mississippi, were left standing.
After being reunited with friends and family, who appeared for the finale, Ha and Marks got to work, preparing an entire menu within two hours. Ha ended up with an appetizer of a Thai crab and papaya salad, a braised pork belly entree with rice, maitake mushroom and kale and a desert of refreshing coconut lime sorbet. The dishes pleased the judges, but they found Ha's presentation of the entrees to be lacking and the idea behind the menu to be a little simplistic.
Marks' dishes — an appetizer of butter-poached lobster grits with sweet potato puree, a rack of lamb entree with spring peas and carrots and bacon-encrusted pecan pie with vanilla-cinnamon ice cream — had more flare, but the judges were far from blown away by the appetizer, which they called "undercooked," and they said that the side vegetables he chose didn't seem to match the lamb main entree.
At the end of the episode, after the usual platitudes in which the judges praise how far the finalists have gotten and how it was the hardest decision any of them have ever had to make … Ramsay, Bastianich and Elliot bestowed Ha with the title of Master Chef.
Ha immediately began to cry after the victory was announced. "I can't believe that I'm the Master Chef," she said between sobs. "This has been the most amazing experience. After all the obstacles I've been through, going up against such awesome amazing cooks … I'm living proof that dreams come true against all odds."
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