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Where you can find me when I’m not in the kitchen
Where you can find me when I’m not in the kitchen
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.
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.
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.
Did you know May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? Me neither. I’m Asian-American, and even I didn’t know. What does this imply?
Back in October, I was in Toronto shooting the first season of my Canadian cooking show, “Four Senses,” when I received a message on Facebook from Sandee Birdsong, the almighty culinary producer behind all the main competitive culinary shows you see on American television, including MasterChef U.S., Top Chef, and now MasterChef Canada.
“You’re in Toronto?? I’m here doing MC Canada, and we’re about to tape our finale. Can you come visit the set and give a pep talk to the finalists?” Sandee had said.
I don’t like using the term “celebrity” when it comes to describing anything about myself–it makes me shy and feel slightly diva-ish–but “celebrity judge” is the title I’ve been given by the press/media and the two organizations whose competitions I’ll be “celebrity judging” this weekend.
It’s only April, and I’m already slated to judge four culinary competitions this year, all of which will take place in my hometown of Houston. I guess the fact that Gordon Ramsay said, “[Christine] has an extraordinary palate,” lends me some credibility when it comes to knowing good food. Two of the four events are being held this coming weekend, so come join me for some competitive culinary fun.
The Paralympics always take place a week after the Olympics in the same town. The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the eleventh of its kind, just saw their closing ceremony Sunday. Forty-five countries participated in 72 medal events in five sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, and wheelchair curling. 2014 also marked the debut of my favorite winter sport, snowboarding. The USA sent 74 Paralympic athletes, and it was the first Paralympic Winter Games for Brazil, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
Back in November, I’d gone to the 2013 NMO Patient Day hosted by the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation in L.A. It was the fifth year for the gathering/reunion, and personally my third time attending. However, it was my first time attending post-“MasterChef.” This time, I was asked to close the day’s panels and workshops with a talk. By now, I’ve done a good number of these, but I still get a little nervous all the same. It helped to remember that everyone there is happy to see and hear from me, especially because they, too, either have NMO or loves someone with NMO. Keeping in mind that I had the room’s full support helped me face the crowd with a smile and less shaky knees. It also helped to hear Victoria Jackson call me her hero. *sniff*
Late last year, it was announced that I would be co-hosting a new culinary show in Canada with the winner of “Top Chef” Canada season 2, Carl Heinrich. Now, the show, called “Four Senses,” is about to make its debut on the small screen one week from tomorrow!
My life for the past 20 months has revolved around cooking and food. But before that, my life had revolved around writing. I hope that soon enough, I will be able to strike a fine balance between the two loves of my life, as I like to call them.
So it was with great pleasure that I was recently asked to write a personal essay for the new kid on the Houston journalism block, Houstonia Magazine. My former editor at Eating Our Words, the Houston Press food and dining blog for which I was a former contributor, is now at Houstonia, and she approached me about writing for the “H-town Diary” column, which she’d mentioned also boasts the likes of such writers as Chitra Divakaruni and Mat Johnson, both of whom were my instructors at the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. Of course I agreed I would write a piece for the December issue—it was my chance to switch gears and float back towards my writer persona. Plus I figured it would give me new material for my memoir (which I plan to finish a draft of in 2014—more on this later).