Christine Ha is just like all of us. She likes to shop, she likes to interact with people on social media, and she loves to cook. Oh, and she also happens to be blind.

Lauded by chef Gordon Ramsay as having an “extraordinary palate,” Christine is the first blind contestant and winner of season three of the competitive amateur cooking television show MasterChef. As an accomplished writer and featured keynote speaker, Christine shares her experiences as a chef and a culinary ambassador around the world.

To win the coveted MasterChef title, Christine beat more than 30,000 other home cooks in America. She received $250,000 cash and a cookbook deal. Her first cookbook, Recipes From My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food, was a New York Times best-seller. 

According to Gordon Ramsay, Christine has “… a palate of incredible finesse. She picks up hot ingredients, touches them, and she thinks about this image on the plate. She has the most disciplined execution on a plate that we’ve ever seen. But the palate is where it’s just extraordinary. And honestly, I know chefs with Michelin stars that don’t have palates like hers.”

Christine is currently working on her memoir and second cookbook. In addition, she will have opened her first restaurant, The Blind Goatthis year.

She has been featured on NPR, the BBC, and CNN International, and travels around the globe to give keynote addresses and TEDx talks. She was a co-host on the Canadian cooking show Four Senses and a judge on MasterChef Vietnam.

Christine received the 2014 Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind, a recognition formerly bestowed upon Ray Charles, Patty Duke, and Stevie Wonder, among others.