Christine Ha was crowned the winner of "MasterChef" season 3. Despite her blindness which was caused by a rare autoimmune disease, she battled against the odds to defeat Josh Marks in the finale which aired Monday, September 10.
For the last task, the two finalists had to cook three courses: an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. Christine served Thai papaya salad with crab, braised pork belly with rice, maitake mushrooms and crispy kale, and coconut lime sorbet with ginger tuile. The judges complimented her for the balance of her menu.
Meanwhile, Josh presented butter-poached lobster with grits and sweet potato puree, a rack of lamb with green curry sauce, spring peas and carrots and bacon-crusted pecan pie with vanilla cinnamon ice cream. The judges praised his effort to make such difficult dishes, but noted that his undercooked lobster might ruin everything.
After some deliberations, judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot came out to declare Christine as the winner. The first blind contestant in the show's history took home $250,000 cash and a cook book deal.
"I'm living proof that dreams come true against all odds," the graduate student from Houston, Texas said upon her win. To TV Guide, she further shared about her feelings, "My first reaction when I won was just utter shock. I just could not believe it. I was shocked for probably 48 hours. I didn't realize how much I wanted it and how much it was attainable."
She went on confessing that not long ago, she "didn't even know how to steam rice in a rice cooker." She added, "I was a disgrace to many Vietnamese mothers I'm sure... I only knew how to make scrambled eggs and toast and instant ramen," before she started learning to cook once she got an apartment and a kitchen.
Explaining her consideration to serve the dishes that led her to win the competition, she said, "I wanted to go with three dishes that would make sense going together. The entree was a much richer, deeper and heavier dish, so that's why I wanted the appetizer to be refreshing. By dessert, I wanted to move it back to something light and refreshing."