MasterChef

thoughts on the passing of josh marks

As many of you may have heard, my friend and co-finalist for “MasterChef” season 3, Josh Marks, recently passed away from an apparent suicide. Josh was one of my closest friends from the show, and it greatly bereaves me to have learned of this news. As if this wasn’t enough, I see that someone who doesn’t know either one of us personally has been making judgments online. Today someone posted on my Facebook page (and I paraphrase) that “nobody cares about Josh, that none of us helped him before it was too late.”

I am sorry, but I have to express my disappointment in reading this statement. This comes from a person who admits he/she does not know Josh nor I nor any of his family and friends personally, and to make that sort of a judgment is completely uncalled for and wrong. To think that nobody tried to help him dismisses the great lengths his mother went through to try to help her son. To say this is to believe her efforts were nonexistent.

I am the kind of person that does not like to focus on the negative, but rather the positive, of a situation or person. I am also the kind of person that believes in respecting people’s privacy. This is why I choose not to post or write about Josh’s circumstances on my blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Josh’s loved ones are going through enough grief; they don’t need the additional stress of any unwanted media on them. But after reading this person’s allegations that nobody cared about Josh, I had to say something.

Is it not enough for us to be going through this grief, now we have to answer to people’s accusations, too? I am deeply saddened by Josh’s passing, but I prefer not to air it out online. My bereavement is personal and between me and those who knew Josh. It is not between me and the rest of the world. It is not my responsibility to report publicly what my relationship with Josh was like, how many times we’ve talked or emailed, what we talked or emailed about, how he felt, how I’m feeling, what transpired between us, what I have or have not done, and so on. And I think anyone who questions what any of us are going through or are thinking or have or have not done should really mind their own business. It greatly upsets me to know that people would think just because we have been on TV means 100% of our lives belong to the public. This is simply not true. And it upsets me to know that some people confuse our choice of keeping some things private with not caring. These are not equivalent.

With all this being said, there has only been one person who had anything negative to say. Everyone else has sent their sympathies, and these are very much appreciated. On behalf of Josh’s family, friends, colleagues, and his fellow MasterChef family, thank you for your sincere condolences. Please continue to keep Josh and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.

writing a new york times bestseller: check

Last Wednesday, I got an email from the communications director at Rodale (my cookbook publisher) stating that my very first book I’d ever published, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, was going to debut at #12 on the New York Times best sellers list for the week of July 14th under the Advice/How To/Misc. category. I was so incredibly stoked. I was in the car with my girlfriend on our way to a happy hour for a friend’s birthday.

“I’m not going to drink to her birthday,” I’d said. “I’m drinking to my making it to the NY Times best sellers list!”
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I thought getting into University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program and graduating with my MFA was an awesome feeling. Winning the title of MasterChef last year was superb. But I have to put being a NYT best selling author on to that same list if not at the top of it all. It was seriously yet another dream come true. Now to work on getting that Pulitzer…and then the Nobel…

Speaking of my cookbook, many of you have been asking since its release back in May, “Can I send my book to you for you to sign it?”

I’ve always had to turn down these requests because I simply, as a one-woman (with an occasional half or two) show, did not have the capacity to receive, sign, and ship back books. If I said yes to one person, I’d feel obligated to say yes to them all, and with all my traveling and workload, I just couldn’t do it. I felt bad because I don’t like disappointing people.

And then my local Houston book signing at Brazos Bookstore came and went. And then because I support Brazos for their long-lasting relationship with our graduate program, I decided to suggest they carry signed copies of my cookbook. It was a win-win situation: Brazos gets to be the exclusive store carrying signed copies of my cookbook which obviously leads to more sales for them, the fans get what they want, and I am happy to please everyone.

Ask, and you shall receive. Buy signed copies of my cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, from Brazos Bookstore. As always, thank you so much for your love and support. xoxo

recipes from my home kitchen by christine ha: houston book signing at brazos bookstore on june 11

Hello, hot Houstonians! I’ll be doing my first official book signing tomorrow, Tuesday, June 11th, at Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet St., 77005) at 7:00 PM. It’ll be preceded by slots casino a short talk and a Q&A—whatever question you have, bring it on. :) Please come out and support your local indie bookstore. Hope to “see” you there! xoxo

mc4, ep 1 recap: the top 100 audition

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4dGlaVqt-g
Hello friends! It’s been a whole year since I made my debut on the small screen. And now it’s a new year, a new season, and a new batch of contestants. I’m excited to see what happens this season and to find out, along with the rest of America, who the next reigning MasterChef will be.

I spent the last ten days in NYC promoting my cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen, and the season 4 premiere of ”MasterChef.” The red carpet, TV spots, and interviews are all fun…but nothing beats being back in my home with its glorious bed; cozy kitchen; and, of course, my hubby and two terror dogs. (That’s right, I meant to say “terror” and not “terrier.”)

I got home just in time to catch most of the season 4 premiere. It brought back memories of both filming and watching my season last year. There was Natasha who made some yummy sounding empanadas, Jordan whose story about his mother reminded me of my own, Krissi who was surprised by her son’s appearance at her audition, James who is a fellow Houstonian (w00t!), and Luca whom I befriended during my season when he was in the top 100 (and when he sadly did not get an apron even though his mama came in all the way from Italy to surprise him). There was [shaved and skinned] beaver tail, mac-’n-cheese made with breast milk, and a robot. It seems they’ve pulled out all the stops this year. I wonder what’ll be in store during this week’s episode as what I assume will be the remainder of the top 100 auditions followed by a whittling down to the final cast after a challenge.

From this point out, I’ll be blogging my recap thoughts of the episodes at TVGuide.com—I’ll post a link to the entries here. Don’t forget to tune in every Wednesday at 8 PM EDT/PDT on FOX!

my cookbook, recipes from my home kitchen, releases today!

FINALLY! There’s been so much anticipation. Thanks to everyone For the support. Go here to find out where you can get a copy.

i am christine ha, ask me anything: my first reddit ama

Last night, I held my first AMA–Ask Me Anything–(or is it IAmA–what is the difference?) on Reddit. I’d made the front page of Reddit last year (which apparently is a big deal), and I’d been getting requests to do an AMA since then. So I acquiesced, and I must say, it’s quite fun. Christy Turlington and The National also did AMAs on the same day as me. Obama’s AMA is the most popular AMA to ever have been done. If you missed mine last night, here is a link to read my first ever AMA. Enjoy!

P.S. As a boost to my own ego, I wanted to see how my AMA measured up to Christy Turlington’s–I had 478 comments while she had 34. I beat out a supermodel in a popularity contest on Reddit! Nerds reunite!

q&a with graham elliot, chef and masterchef judge

Ten more days until my cookbook release! I can’t believe it, but it sure has been a long awaited milestone. I will be in NYC for my cookbook launch and the ”MasterChef” season 4 premiere—stay tuned. And for the Houstonians, there is a book signing slated for June 11th at Brazos Bookstore—I’ll have more details about that later.

For now, you can still pre-order my cookbook, and as a bonus, here’s a Q&A I did with Graham Elliot—he asks me what I’ve learned since being on the show and which of my recipes best represents my life journey and me. What do you think of the Q&A? Let me know with a comment.

release date of my cookbook is may 14, but you can pre-order today

I got my advanced copy in the mail recently, and I sniffed the pages for, like, four minutes. No, it’s not a scratch-’n-sniff cookbook (though that is not a bad idea); as a lover of books, I just like to smell the new pages. I can’t wait for all of you to have your own copy in your hands. My hope is you’ll enjoy both reading and cooking from it. Pre-order your own copy of Recipes from My Home Kitchen today.

cruising down memory lane: guess where i was last easter?

That’s right. I was in the middle of ”MasterChef” season 3 production. We had a break from the crazy production schedule because it was Easter weekend, and the remaining cast went out for brunch courtesy of a few favorite crew members. I still can’t believe it’s been a whole year! Do you remember/recognize all the faces?

cruising down memory lane: l.a. in july

Ever since I’d returned from filming the show almost a year ago (can you believe it’s been that long already?!), I’ve been quite the jet-setter. I adore traveling because I love learning about other cultures and especially their foods. And when I say “other cultures,” I don’t always mean countries on the other side of the globe. “Other cultures” could refer to another region in the U.S. Or even that neighboring city a couple of hours down the interstate.

But, as I believe with most things in life, everything in moderation. Too much traveling can be exhausting, and now that I’ve found myself home with no foreseeable travel plans for at least a month or two, it feels so damn nice. Since last summer, I’ve watched the mileage in my airline frequent flyer miles climb; I’ve flown over 40,000 miles in less than a year.

Sometimes, I am still treated like I’m incapable at the airports. A recent trip found me in a strange conversation with a TSA employee at security checkpoint.

TSA employee: Can you see anything?
Me: Very little.
TSA employee: You look so normal.
Me: What do you mean? I am normal.
TSA employee: It must be scary flying alone.
Me: Not really. I fly alone all the time.


I wanted to sock him and say, “Scared to fly alone?! I survived MasterChef, biatch!” But of course, I didn’t. I have a respectable image to uphold, you know.

Anyway, looking back at all my travels, I realized I’m way behind on my blog posts. When I first started this blog, my goal was to blog at least once a week. Then I left for the show, and The Blind Cook went on understandable hiatus. Then I returned and was super busy with post-show obligations, and my posts became bimonthly at best. Now I just looked at the last post I wrote, and it was over a month ago! I know this is unacceptable, but please cut me some slack. I just finished writing a cookbook, came back from Vietnam where I was part of the production of “MasterChef” Vietnam, and now I’m trying to hammer out my thesis to graduate in May.

I was looking back at the long list of entries I need to write and decided I’ll just take a trip down Memory Lane. Here’s a trip I took to L.A. In July 2012. There’s not much to this trip in the ways of enjoyable gastronomy, but it was a nice trip nonetheless. FOX was holding their Television Critics Association (TCA) press conference and invited both MC3Felix and me to attend as reps for “MasterChef” season 3. They knew we were dynamic together and good friends, and what could’ve been an intimidating day turned out to be great fun. (After all, isn’t it always all about the company?)

In the same trip, I also did a cooking demo on ”Good Day L.A.”. I’m always nervous before a cooking demo or before I go on camera, in fact, but they usually turn out swell.

Since July, I’ve returned to L.A. A handful of times (including last week when I had that notorious conversation at checkpoint). More to come.

Till next time, wish me luck on my thesis!

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