MasterChef: US Season 3

Okay, considering the finale just aired yesterday, I know I’m seriously late to the party posting about the current season of MasterChef, but I was too inspired to just let it go. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers for others (especially since I’m about five episodes behind!), too.

I’ve been a fan of the show since I caught the British version. It was such a neat concept–giving the home cook a chance to shine. Now, I might not be at the level of most of the contestants, but it’s fun to think I could be that good and creative if I keep working on it.

One of my favorite parts is seeing some of the most unlikely people turn out to be amazing cooks, and this season definitely did not disappoint! One of the contestants, Christine Ha, is blind. Yup, blind. Being on a reality TV show and competing with others is stressful enough (especially when Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, but doing it blind must multiply those factors by 1,000 percent. Heck, I wouldn’t have the guts to audition in the first place, so she gets extra respect in my book! And I won’t lie: I’m totally jealous of her skills and palate.

I watched her carefully cutting various ingredients with ease and being amazed at how evenly she chopped them. It’d take me eons to do as well as she did. She cleaned out sea urchins and broke down various meats with ease. The judges were consistently impressed by how accurate her palate was, noting it’s not really something you can learn.

Christine handled all the challenges amazingly well. Sure, there were times she was flustered, but I gotta give her props for tackling whatever she got and did it to the best of her ability. Most of her competitors underestimated her and often chose her last for group challenges, but as the competition went on, they realized she was quite a threat. In one challenge, the winner got to assign the remaining contestants either canned or fresh crab. Thinking it would trip her up and ultimately her downfall, she was given a live crab. Worst. Move. Ever. She freaked out at first (and who can blame her?? Even with eyesight avoiding those claws and taking the meat out is a trick!), but quickly broke it down like a pro. The judges were amazed at her finished dish and she ended up being one of their favorites.

My other favorite challenge was baking an apple pie. It wasn’t until I watched her making a pie that it dawned on me just how much you rely on your sight to check the color of baked goods. Christine also pointed out not being able to taste or doctor a recipe as you go along like you can while cooking is another disadvantage. She was horribly worried about her pie, but Gordon praised her, describing what a perfectly golden, flaky crust her pie had, even tapping it and scraping the top of the crust with a butter knife to let her hear its crunchy texture. He also told her to stop doubting herself so often. I think that was the boost of confidence she needed, too; after that, she appeared even more determined and confident with every future challenge and it seemed like all her competitors finally took her seriously and not just as a gimmick.

In one of the group challenges, Christine was picked first, surprising everyone, but it was a great call. The judges discussed what job they would give her if they were leading the team: Gordon and Graham wanted to have her actually working on dishes (ie garnishing), but Joe thought she would drag the team down immensely and the only place he’d put her was the coat room. In the end, her team won and Joe apologized, stating he was very pleased to be proven wrong.

Watching Christine cook was so inspiring. She was able to accomplish tasks her other competitors struggled with and seeing her passion for food reignited mine. She seasoned and plated all her dishes beautifully, taking some very cheap and simple ingredients to new levels, which I feel combined with her killer palate will help her win the competition. She certainly deserves it for all the hard work she’s done (plus, I’m pretty sure her cookbook would have some AMAZING recipes in it). Good luck Christine!!

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