Chef of the week: CAT CORA

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Cat Cora (born January 1, 1968) is a renowned chef in around the world. Her culinary aspirations began at an early age, and by 15, she had developed a business plan for her own restaurant.

With advice from of her famous mentor Julia Child, Cat left her native Mississippi for New York, where she received the education at The Culinary Institute of America. While in New York, she apprenticed with and then worked for Chef Anne Rozenweig at Arcadia and worked at the Beekman Tavern under Chef Larry Forgione of An American Place.

Her culinary education continued in Europe completing apprenticeships with two of France’s three-star Michelin chefs, George Blanc of Vonnas and Roger Verge. After returning to New York again, Cat honed her skills as a Sous Chef at The Old Chatham Shepherding Company under Chef Melissa Kelly. She soon headed West to plant her roots in Northern California, where she served as Chef de Cuisine at Napa Valley’s Bistro Don Giovanni.

Cat made her TV debut in 1999, as co-host of Food Network’s Melting Pot with Rocco Di Spirito. She went on to host My Country My Kitchen: Greece, Date Plate, and was one of the featured hosts on Fine Living’s Simplify Your Life. A documentary, Cat’s In The Kitchen, was also made about her first James Beard dinner in April, 2002.

Preceding Iron Chef America, Cat co-hosted Kitchen Accomplished on Food Network, where she worked with a design expert and contractor to surprise a homeowner with a 3-day kitchen makeover. In 2006, Cat appeared in NBC’s Primetime Miniseries, Celebrity Cooking Showdown, where celebrities were paired with famous chefs and competed in a timed cook-off à la Iron Chef America. She’s also known as the co-host on the new series Around the world in 80 Plates with Australian chef Curtis Stone.

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Cat Cora on Iron Chef America

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     In 2005, she made television history on Food  Network’s Iron Chef America as the first and only female Iron Chef, and in November 2006 Bon Appetit Magazine bestowed her with their Teacher of the Year Award, an award she calls, “the greatest recognition she could achieve as a chef.” That month, she was also honored with another great culinary distinction: Executive Chef of the magazine. With a new restaurant recently opened at Macy’s South Coast Plaza and another at Walt Disney World in fall 2009, Cat’s bringing a taste of her culinary influence to both coasts.

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Cat Cora’s Kouzzina restaurant

Until now, Cat Cora has published 3 cookbooks: Cat Cora’s Kitchen, which was inspired by her Greek and Southern heritage and contains many of her family’s favorite recipes, Cooking From The Hip: Fast, Easy, Phenomenal Meals and Classics With a Twist: Fresh Takes on Favorite Dishes that showcases her signature fast and healthy approach to family-friendly recipes from around the world.

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     Outside of the kitchen, Cat is known for her philanthropy. She is President and Founder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization that originated in response to the 2004 Tsunami disaster. Recognizing Cat’s altruistic determination in the food world, UNICEF named her a nutritional spokesperson to help raise awareness for humanitarian crises around the world.

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     In June 2010, Cat joined First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her Chefs Move To Schools campaign in an effort to provide nutritional guidance and education from professional chefs to schools nationwide. Cat is presently working on adopting an elementary school near her home in Santa Barbara, CA.

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     Passionate about teaching families healthy eating habits at home, Cat began working with Disney in 2008, where she created a Disney Video on Demand series, “Disney’s What’s Cooking with Cat Cora.”

In September 2010, Cat and Disney Online launched Muppets Kitchen, a series of webisodes featuring Cat and co-hosted by a spicy Italian Muppet named Angelo. With the help of Muppet friends, Cat and Angelo are helping families rediscover time together through the joy of cooking. These instructional webisodes provide moms with advice on how to get their kids excited about cooking as well as step-by-step instructions for preparing nutritious meals the whole family will love.

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Do you love Cat Cora? Let me know in the comment section below 🙂

See you in the next post of Chef of the week,

Love, Trang Quynh

Source:, Wikipedia, Google


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