An inspirational story created an instant fan favorite contestant on the season premiere of “MasterChef” (Mon., 9 p.m. ET on Fox). Gordon Ramsay and his fellow judges welcomed blind chef Christine Ha onto the show, and were immediately inspired and touched by her story.

Notorious tough judge Joe Bastianich teared up during the show while critiquing her work, telling HuffPost, “I’m surprised more people haven’t done it. Her palate’s way beyond everyone else’s.” He believes the heightening of her other senses may actually give her an edge as a chef.

That said, both he and fellow judge Graham Elliot agreed that they’d never before encountered a blind chef in a professional kitchen, though they both suspect and hope that Ha’s story may inspire more to follow in her footsteps. She earned her apron and access to the show, alongside 11 other contestants in this first part of a two-part premiere.

Check out the judges’ take on the upcoming season here, and tune in Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox for new episodes of “MasterChef.” TV Replay scours the vast television landscape to find the most interesting, amusing, and, on a good day, amazing moments, and delivers them right to your browser.