'Chef' Finalist Labels Ramsay as 'Charismatic'

by Robert Pace 4:15 AM PDT, September 10, 2012
Playing 'Chef' Finalist Labels Ramsay as 'Charismatic'

Gordon Ramsay is known for his raw, vulgar temper that he has unloaded on many restaurants owners, aspiring chefs, and now hotel owners, but as MasterChef finalist Christine Ha tells ET, he also has an endearing side that doesn't frequently appear on camera.

Ha, who has reached the show's finale despite having lost her sight to an autoimmune disorder at a younger age, says that it may be that Ramsay's expectations are lowered on MasterChef, but he is more compassionate than he may seem despite his occasional hot-tempered antics.

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"On this show...he does understand that we're all amateur home cooks and none of us have had true culinary experience, so I think he played the role more of a mentor to us," said Ha. "Actually, he's a very charismatic man and very, very humorous...He had us cracking up all the time, especially when the cameras weren't rolling."

Competing in a cooking competition, nonetheless a televised competition hosted by Gordon Ramsay, is a daunting task in itself, and subtracting the element of clear vision from the scenario makes it an even more terrifying experience. However, Ha says she is always up for a challenge.

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"The whole experience was definitely nerve-wracking and...I was extremely nervous, but I don't think it ever crossed my mind not to do it because I think it's just in my personality to always try to accept any challenge that comes my way and try to conquer it," she said.

Ha's fearless approach to conquering her aspirations despite her impairment has served as an inspiration to other sight-impaired individuals and others who have followed the show.

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"I have gotten letters from people that say being on the show and being in the public [eye] has made them change their minds about what they can and cannot do," said Ha, who lists Vietnamese eggrolls as one of her favorite dishes. "I think it's opening up a lot of doors for people...It's just been amazing to hear the positive impact that I've had on others."

Ha takes on Josh Marks in the MasterChef finale, which airs tonight (Mon.) at 9 p.m. on FOX.