People ask me "How can you cook if you're blind?"
January 28, 2017 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Christine Ha was the first ever blind contestant and winner of Gordon Ramsay’s "MasterChef." In answer to a question she frequently gets, she strapped on a GoPro and produced "How The Blind Cook." She co-hosts the Canadian cooking show "Four Senses;" her personal website is The Blind Cook. [h/t Miss Cellania]
posted by Johnny Wallflower (15 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
"How do you cook if you're blind?" Seems the answer is: "The same way you'd cook if you couldn't see. Only, like, a gazillion times better." -- This was really cool. The woman surely has natural talent, and at the same time she models what determination looks like. I love that.
posted by little_dog_laughing at 8:19 AM on January 28, 2017

Hell, even sighted, I can't chop green onions that finely without nicking myself.
posted by Samizdata at 8:20 AM on January 28, 2017

The book "I'll Take Manhattan" by Judith Krantz had a blind chef character that went into surprising detail as to how exactly he did it and trained other people to do it. There are tools designed for that kind of thing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:21 AM on January 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

This was neat! Also that fish looked delicious. Red snapper with garlic, scallions and black bean sauce, I think?
posted by Diablevert at 9:01 AM on January 28, 2017

I have no sense of smell and very little sense of taste and I can cook. Asnomia is a very minor impairment but it would seem to be a bigger deal in this one field, but I have never found it a problem (save for asking someone else, "can you taste this for me? Is the level of salt okay?").
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:06 AM on January 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

This was one of my favorite seasons of MasterChef -- there were a lot of enjoyable personalities -- but part of what was delightful was watching the other contestants who began the season nervous and standoffish about interacting with Ha become comfortable and educated, sometimes taking the place of her helper, and getting better at providing her sight-monologues in an undertone while Gordon was demonstrating, becoming naturals at helping her walk across stage, etc. It was neat to see them go from anxious to relaxed, and I think that's one of the ways representation on TV can really help normalize differences. At the beginning of the season it was a Big Deal and something that separated her from the other cooks; at the end of the season everyone took it as a matter of course and had learned basic etiquette for helping a friend who is blind. She was even physically less separated, because she always had someone's arm to take, and used her cane much less, when they were moving around sets and locations, because the other chefs learned what to do and they built trust as the season went along.

It gave me full-bodied flashbacks too, since one of my closest friends in college was blind and I recall going through the same process exactly of anxious-to-relaxed and then watching each new crop of freshmen do so, and it kind of nice to nostalgically watch other people learning too.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:09 PM on January 28, 2017 [42 favorites]

I was once sitting in a kitchen while a blind friend was busy making cookies from scratch. I watched what he was doing and with just a few finger actions to help measure ingredients it just happened like for any other cook. It was evening and as I sat there it got darker and darker. At one point he checked his watch and said, "Hey, are you sitting there in the dark? Turn on the light!" His wife raved about his cooking.
posted by njohnson23 at 4:21 PM on January 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

This video made me inexpressibly happy.
posted by ssmith at 5:28 PM on January 28, 2017

Sadly, another contestant from the same season, Josh Marks, comitted suicide less than a year later. Sad story.
posted by paulcole at 6:12 PM on January 28, 2017

The part where she got her measuring spoon upside down and had to double-check it got me. This was great.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:31 AM on January 29, 2017

That was the first season of Masterchef I ever watched, I think I was in tears almost every episode. Christine Ha was a delight to watch, and many of the other contestants were also endearing.
posted by liquorice at 2:04 PM on January 29, 2017

From TheBlindCook website: In Memory of Joshua Marks, Thoughts of the Passing of Joshua Marks.
posted by Eikonaut at 2:59 PM on January 29, 2017

Hell, even sighted, I can't chop green onions that finely without nicking myself.

I wish we could have actually seen her chopping. Maybe she looked away so the GoPro didn't catch it, so it was cut out, but we only saw her start to slice.

Still neat!
posted by bluefly at 6:04 AM on January 30, 2017

Interesting. I once worked for the guy who wrote When the Cook Can't Look
posted by tippiedog at 7:47 AM on January 30, 2017

In the same vein, people might want to check out The Doctor Will Not See You Now, by Jane Poulson.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:50 AM on February 2, 2017

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