MasterChef champion Christine Ha will soon bring her cooking expertise to the Cornell community, virtually sharing her experiences and engaging fans.
Ha won the third season of MasterChef, the competitive cooking reality TV show judged by chef Gordon Ramsay. Ha won the $250,000 prize and the deal for her first cookbook, Recipes From My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food. At the April 1 event, Ha will present to Cornellians and answer audience questions.
As the first-ever blind contestant on the show, Ha has spoken with news outlets including CNN International, NPR and the BBC since her win in 2012, advocating for the blind community. In 2019, Ha took part in the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities panel discussion supporting legislation to benefit people with disabilities worldwide.
In 2019, Ha launched The Blind Goat, a gastropub based on her culinary and cultural roots as a Texan and child of Vietnamese refugees.
“I am very excited to be opening my first food concept since winning MasterChef,” Ha told the Houston Chronicle in 2018. “Everyone has been waiting to taste my dishes, and after doing pop-ups all over the world, I am finally ready to turn my dream into a reality.”
The restaurant opened in Houston to critical acclaim, ranking in the Houston Chronicle as one of the city’s best new restaurants in 2019. She announced her second establishment, Xin Chao, a year later on the back of this success.
Ha has co-hosted, judged and produced for a variety of TV shows, including cooking shows like Four Senses and MasterChef Vietnam and the docu-series Blind Love, which explores the realities of dating while blind.
Ha will be the sixth speaker in Cornell’s Asian and Asian American Center InspirAsian Speaker Series. Past speakers have included Ashly Perez, a former Buzzfeed development partner and Good Trouble writer, and Dr. Nimmi Gowrinathan, a professor, author and activist. On April 8, Eric Nam, a singer, songwriter and television host, is set to speak as part of the series.
The session with Ha is one of several events the Asian and Asian American Center will host in the coming weeks. These include a mix of educational and artistic events featuring prominent Asian-American speakers and facilitators. On April 1, Anthony Irwin, a Cornell Society for the Humanities postdoctoral fellow, will deliver a lecture on Buddhist ritual weaponry, and professional choreographer and dancer Bo Park will teach a virtual dance workshop on March 27 as the third event in a dance series.