IPFW, Fort Wayne food trucks and the League for the Blind and Disabled have teamed up to bring Master Chef Season 3 winner Christine Ha to the Rinehart Music Center in Auer Hall on Sunday.
Ha suffers from neuromyelitis optica, a condition where the immune system attacks the optic nerves and the spinal cord. She was diagnosed with the condition in 2004 and gradually lost her eyesight and was almost completely blind three years later.
“I am The Blind Cook, supporter of the culinary and literary arts,” Ha says on her blog, The Blind Cook. “Food and words are my creative portals, the means through which I connect with others.”
Ha also has a YouTube Channel, “Blind Life of Christine Ha.”
During the 19 episodes on the 2012 season of Master Chef, Ha won seven times during individual and team challenges, and placed in the top three of her group three times. She won $250,000, the Master Chef title, trophy and a cookbook deal. Her cookbook, “Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food,” was released the following year.
During the event, Ha will speak about being blind and winning Master Chef.
In addition to Ha’s speech, four local home cooks will battle for a $1,000 prize at the event. The four finalists competed in a preliminary competition at Ivy Tech in July by cooking their favorite recipe in which apples were the primary ingredient. At Sunday’s competition, the four cooks will again be required to incorporate apples in their dish.
The “home cook” finalists are: Kent Castleman, Nancy Ake, who is blind, Michael Walters and Dawn Kelley.
Sunday’s judges are Ha, Steve Gard (owner of the Oyster Bar), Kim Dupps-Truesdell (The Journal Gazette) and Laura Wilson (chef and owner of La Dolce Vita in Roanoke).
In a separate competition, professional chefs from restaurants in the region will be cooking blindfolded.
Food trucks will be parked outside of the events center.
Tickets can be purchased by calling (260) 481-6555 or at ipfw.edu/tickets. Tickets are $45 for general admission and $25 for students with a valid student I.D.