Cat Cora Talks with Food and Beverage Today
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In This Issue

Meet the Masters

Iron Chef Cat Cora

Cat's Balancing Act

Y

ou have no doubt seen Iron Chef Cat Cora on Food Network's Iron Chef series but now see Chef Cora in a whole new light. Cat is much more than a just cooking show personality, she is a top quality chef, entrepreneur, author, philanthropist and mother of two (soon to be three) beautiful children. She is also, perhaps most notably, the only woman ever to earn the title Iron Chef.

Cat Cora, Chef Cora, Iron Chef Cat Cora
Courtesy Robert Quailer

People often say that food and beverage is in their blood, with Cat it's actually true.

Cat Cora was born and raised in the Jackson, Mississippi restaurant community. We got to know Cat recently and as you will see, she is an inspiration to all if us, both in and out of the industry.

[Saad] "Growing up in Jackson, Mississippi; who and what inspired you to become a Chef?"

[Cat] "I grew up in a small Greek community in the South. The combination of those two rich culinary backgrounds was definitely intriguing and inspiring to me, and joining those two worlds of flavor together was a welcome treat. My family and godparents were in the restaurant industry, so I grew up in kitchens both in and out of the home."

Cat attended the University of Southern Mississippi where she earned a degree in Exercise Physiology and Biology before the culinary pull was too strong for her to resist. After some gentle nudging from Grand Dame Julia Child she enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) where she honed her skills and gained what she feels is one of her most powerful weapons, knowledge!

After graduating from the CIA she apprenticed under chef Anne Rozenweig at Arcadia and then worked under chef Larry Forgione at the Beekman.

She continued her culinary education in Europe where she apprenticed under two of France's three-star Michelin chefs; George Blanc and Roger Verge. The experience was extraordinary as it not only gave her a top notch education in classical French cuisine but also added to her appreciation and love of food.

[Saad] "Your love of Mediterranean cuisine and your Southern upbringing make a compelling combination. How do you infuse your favorite Mediterranean dishes with your Southern flair?"

[Cat] "I love classic foods, such as European rustic, hearty meals and good old Southern staples. By infusing the two together I update classic dishes into more contemporary, healthy, and flavorful meals. My dishes can be enjoyed on a daily basis as opposed to only saving them for special occasions.?

After her stint abroad Chef Cora returned to New York, taking a position as sous chef at The Old Chatham Shepherding Company under chef Melissa Kelly. She was soon drawn to Northern California, where she took a position as chef de cuisine at Napa Valley's Bistro Don Giovanni.

More of Cat Cora..

Feature Stories

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chef profiles, restaurant reviews, rising stars, ones's to watch
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