Christine Ha Talks MasterChef, Masochism and Multi-tasking with Eating...Our Words
In her home kitchen, Christine uses tools designed for the visually impaired, like talking thermometers and food scales. "There is also this thing called a liquid level indicator with sensors, that hooks onto the side of the cup, and beeps so you don't overpour." Christine also utilizes the iPhone voice option to type, Tweet and use her apps; screen readers allow her to use her computer and interact with fans on Facebook and Twitter. "A lot of people wondered if it was really me on Facebook and Twitter -- it was me!"
When it comes to the other MasterChef contestants, Christine is quick to praise everyone. "Everyone on the show has great strengths," she enthuses. "Everyone is strong in their own right." She cites Becky's ability to cook gourmet food, and her knowledge of a variety of techniques, while also praising Josh's experience with many cultures. "All of us have a passion for food, and that drives us to grow and experiment; I would say everyone has strengths and their own special talents."
So, how about the judges? While she won't play favorites, Christine obviously has great affection for Gordon Ramsay. "[He] is the most charismatic. Gordon is a very energetic ball of fire! On his other show he comes off as kind of a dick, but on this show he takes on more of a mentor role. Even when he was harsh, he was trying to help us become better cooks, and better people." Of the other judges, Christine says, "Joe is the most intimidating, so when you get a compliment from him it's the best feeling in the world. And Graham is the same off- and on-camera -- one hundred percent genuine."
As for the immediate future, Christine is looking forward to finishing her cookbook, but her post-show schedule has been pretty hectic. "I have started, but I haven't had a lot of time, and I'm feeling the pressure!" she says. "I need to have a lot of recipes tested and ready by the end of the year. [The cookbook] is slated to be out on shelves by May 2013, and I'm working on it when I can." In addition to doing tons of press and working on the cookbook, Ha is also trying to complete her master's thesis, which she put on hold to compete on the show.
With her busy schedule in mind, EOW had a couple of final, hard-hitting questions for the MasterChef champion/writer/chef: "What do you cook when you're exhausted, and where do you eat when you can't even consider stepping into the kitchen?"
On what she would throw together quickly, Christine considered the contents of her refrigerator and answered, "I find rack of lamb easy to cook, so I'll defrost that and throw it together with some vegetables. For something really pedestrian I'll make some rice, some kind of eggs, and some scallions and vegetables with fish or soy sauce." When she wants someone else to cook for her, Christine stays close to home in the Heights neighborhood: "Something from Hubcap Grill, or maybe Pink's Pizza. If I'm craving Chinese food, I'll have my husband drive to Chinese Café on 610 and Richmond. And I like Five Guys -- it's quick, cheap and right down the street!"
Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords