American MasterChef winner Christine Ha Wednesday released the Vietnamese edition of her popular book Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food in Ho Chi Minh City.
The winner of the US reality show in 2012, who also got a master’s degree in creative fiction/nonfiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program the same year, told local readers that the book is a combination of her two favorites: cooking and writing.
Ha, the first blind contestant in MasterChef, said since she cannot see the ingredients, she cooks using all of the other senses: taste, touch, smell, and hearing. Adding to the senses are memories from her childhood, when her mother made simple but savory Vietnamese dishes for her.
Her mother, a Vietnamese, died of lung cancer when she was 14, and memories of her Vietnamese dishes prompted her to buy an old Asian cook book to cook for herself in her early twenties.
Ha, 36, suffers from neuromyelitis optica, a condition in which a person's own immune system attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord. In 2004 she was diagnosed with it and gradually started losing her vision, and was almost completely blind by 2007. She describes her vision "as looking at a very foggy mirror after a hot shower". Despite this, she uses adaptive technologies to manage social media.
Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food was published in 2013.
During her trip to Vietnam this month, Ha will be a judge for the third season of MasterChef Vietnam, making her the first former contestant and winner anywhere in the world to become a regular judge.