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Where you can find me when I’m not in the kitchen

cooking panang curry on “steven and chris”

Steven and Chris is one of my favorite talk shows in Canada: the boys (as their crew affectionally refers to them), their producers, and their whole staff, really, are lovely. (That’s another thing I noticed during my three-week stint as a Canadian: they use the word “lovely” a lot. I was told it’s the British in some of them.) But indeed, I love going on “Steven and Chris”—the hosts are nice and very funny. No wonder their CBC show has been syndicated in the U.S. on the Live Well Network.
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behind the voice of siri

At the end of July, I released Episode 4: How the Blind Email, Tweet, and Blog (or “Yes, That’s Really Me on Facebook!”) of my Blind Life YouTube series. It was my response to all the questions about how those with vision loss use technology.

Yes, I use my iPhone every day, and without it, I’d be bored, disconnected, and lost. The hubs had showed me this video a long time ago about how Siri’s voice was created, and it’s so weird to hear “Siri” speak about anything other than telling me my message is sent, my reminder is set, or that she is searching the web for “‘House of Cards’ plot synopsis.”

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chromecast: how i get my tv on

Growing up, summer breaks were equated to a ton of TV time. I had no siblings, so my summer companions were LeVar Burton at ”Reading Rainbow” at 9 AM, Jon Baker and the Ponch from ”CHiPs” at 10 AM, and Woody Woodpecker and Looney Tunes in the afternoon. (Mid-day TV always sucked, as soap operas and “People’s Court” didn’t appeal to my nine-year-old self.)

As an adult, the summer break is a sentimental thing of the past (unless, of course, you’re a teacher, which I am not). But that doesn’t mean I don’t get my TV on.

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blind life episode 5: what’s in my freezer?

I sometimes get accosted in the grocery store by people who have seen me on TV. They say hello, tell me I’ve inspired them to cook, shake my hand, maybe ask for a photo. There have been a couple of times when shoppers tell me they’re actually at the store collecting ingredients to make one of my recipes from my cookbook—that’s indeed a cool feeling. All the while we are conversing, though, I can’t help but imagine their eyes cutting to the contents of my cart. And then I internally blush when I realize I probably have two pounds of butter and three pints of ice cream in the basket.

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blind life episode 4: how the blind email, tweet, and blog

The next webisode of my Blind Life YouTube series is released!

This time, I answer a question so many sighted people have had since the dawn of my television existence: “Christine, how do you use Facebook and Instagram if you’re blind? Is that really you tweeting? I hope someone reads this to you some day…”

Well, finally, here’s the answer to those perpetual questions. If this webisode spawns even more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments; I’m happy to dispel the myth of blind incapability. Happy watching!

my cookbook is now accessible for those with vision loss

Whether at events, conferences, online, or via Facebook or Twitter, a question I often get is, “Will your cookbook be accessible for the blind?”

“Well, uh, that’s a good question…”

And then I’ll spiel into how my cookbook being accessible was a top priority (it was, and still is); how the editor and publisher agreed (they did); but that in the end, the economics just didn’t make sense—the cost of printing my cookbook in Braille would be too high, and the publisher would have no choice but to pass along that cost to the consumer. And we all know my cookbook may have been a NYT best seller, but who are we kidding? Nobody’s going to buy it for $200!

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orchestrating a menu: why i served what i did at ikea supper club

One of the most challenging yet enjoyable things I do as a chef is designing a menu. Lots of things go into this task, and it may not be as simple as one would think.

I’ve always liked to host parties, and what I served often depended on the occasion. On “MasterChef,” there were many challenges (including the finale) where we as a team or I as an individual had to come up with a cohesive menu diners would enjoy. All this experience has taught me well how to plan a menu.

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i was a guest chef at ikea supper club in stockholm

Imagine showing up at an undisclosed location, sitting with undisclosed guests, and eating undisclosed food. I may skydive and snowboard, but I dare not be that adventurous. This phenomenon, however, is the supper club concept, which has recently become popular in Sweden.

The supper club gives people a chance to socialize, often with those they don’t know well (if at all) in a casual, vibrant atmosphere. The venue could be a restaurant; someone’s private home; or, in this particular case, a random urban flat in the center of Stockholm.

This supper club had been in the making for several months, but my being the guest chef wasn’t publicly announced until I’d set foot in Stockholm. I worked with Ikea Sweden (which, in Sweden, they pronounce with a short “i” sound rather than our American English long “i”) to design my ideal kitchen; I wanted a kitchen that had lots of storage space, was intuitive to organize, and aesthetically pleasing. (Yes, even vision impaired people care about appearances!) Ikea Sweden did an amazing job with this kitchen, and I was able to host dinner for two evenings, twelve guests per seating, without a hitch.

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sh*t people say to blind people

The first “Sh*t People Say…” videos I saw were the ”Sh*t Asian Mom’s Say” and its counterpart, ”Sh*t Asian Dads Say.”

Then came a whole slew of SPS… videos. Some were funny, some were not. Some were pretty accurate; like in the above video, ”Sh* People Say to Blind People.”, I’ve gotten many of the very same questions and comments. I’m not bothered by most of the things said to me because I know people generally don’t mean harm nor disrespect, and more often than not, they’re candidly curious. Sometimes, things are said to me out of ignorance, and I usually don’t mind those either. But there have been occasions where I felt patronized by stuff people have said to me.

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blind life episode 3: how the blind put on makeup

Later this week, I’m embarking on a slew of event appearances, promotional campaigns, and film productions. (So I’m kind of apologizing here ahead of time should I miss a few weekly blog posts.) This means a lot of time before the public eye and on camera. Sometimes, if I’m filming my TV show, ”Four Senses,”, or if I’m lucky and a talk show on which I’m a guest grants me a little time in the hair and makeup chair, I don’t have to worry about my face. But most of the time, I’m responsible for grooming myself, doing my own hair and makeup, ensuring I’m presentable.

Of course, I have someone else shape my eyebrows and cut my hair, but people are often surprised I style my own hair and apply my own makeup.

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