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NMOtion Blog

Discussing NMO Research and Advocacy

An inspirational chef made a stop in Atlanta to cook up a little advice. The winner of FOX’s hit show Masterchef, Christine Ha, reminds us to never let life’s obstacles keep us from our dreams.

If there is anyone who could teach a class on cooking, it would be Ha. The way food looks isn’t as important to Ha because she can’t see. In her 20’s, she was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica or NMO.

Ha says the disease is similar to MS. She says it affected her optic nerves and over time, they atrophied.

But her love of cooking, which started in college, never diminished. She says she botch a few dishes in her early days, but once she could see people enjoying her food, it brought joy to her.

It was a joy that carried her all the way to the kitchen on the world’s stage as a contestant on Masterchef. Ha was the only blind competitor, and the first visually impaired winner of the show.

“When I’m cooking I have adaptive equipment that helps me just prepare food more safely. And I think a lot about using the other senses for clues on what you’re doing in the kitchen,” said Ha.

The Houston native stopped in Atlanta to offer advice to parents and participants of the Center for the Visually Impaired, letting them know that blindness is merely a minor obstacle.

“Everyone has their set of challenges. And I think if anything, I’ve been able to inspire people to pick things up and move on because of the challenge. I think that’s the bigger picture. And I think that’s what I was I was probably placed on this earth to do,” Ha said.

As the winner of Masterchef, Ha won $250,000 and a deal for a cookbook. The cookbook,Recipes from My Home Kitchen, will be out in May.

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