MasterChef

blind life episode 6: cooking with connor

Okay, I admit: I cooked with Connor over a year ago, so the footage from this episode is nothing new. But we were waiting on the embedded video, and then I was waiting on the edit from my hubs/director/producer/sound engineer/UX marketing manager at Home Depot’s blinds.com. (Yes, he is a John of all trades.)

This fell to the wayside, and I got nervous releasing Episode 6: Cooking with Connor so late—what if his condition has changed dramatically since our cooking date?

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in memory of josh marks

October 11 of last year, evening. Dinner was beef Wellington and glazed carrots. One couple had brought whipped potatoes, another a salad. After everyone had left, the hubs helped me gather dirty dishes into the sink. I pulled on my gloves and began rinsing the stemware.

My cell phone rang. Who would be calling me so late?

“It’s Monti,” John said after checking my caller ID.

“I’ll call her back after I’m done with the dishes,” I said.

My phone chimed again—this time, a text message.

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blind life episode 2: visiting the set of masterchef canada

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.

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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!

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