Celeb Chef Cat Cora
BY MICHELLE WARD
Packed into Cat Cora's petite frame is a powerhouse of passion and creativity. Drawing inspiration from her many roles—she is, among other things, the first and only female Iron Chef, executive chef of Bon Appétit magazine and a mother of four—helps Cora to devise new recipes. “I am constantly cooking on the fly with ingredients we have at home,” she says. “Practicing and cooking from the hip affords creativity and putting twists on recipes to create new versions of old favorites.”
Cora’s rapidly expanding empire, which includes cookbooks, restaurants and her charity foundation, Chefs for Humanity, is now going green. This month, the Mississippi native launches a chemical-free line of cookware, cutlery and gadgets on QVC. Cora describes herself as a “big advocate” for the environment: Her line uses eco-friendly acacia wood and recycled steel and adheres to the strictest American and European environmental regulations. Other things on Cora’s plate include new episodes of Iron Chef America and developing a show on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. Admittedly “excited,” Cora says, “The concept is about me helping families create a quality of life in their kitchen and around their food.”
Now settled in Santa Barbara, Cora has found tasty treasures in Los Angeles restaurants. “I love the mandoo vegetable dumplings at Street,” she says. “So much so that I recommended the dish for The Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network.”
Even while relaxing at home with her partner, Jennifer, and their young sons, Cora relishes her time in the kitchen. “Dinnertime is our favorite time of day because we always eat together around the table, and everyone takes part in the preparation and cooking process,” she says. “The little ones help with whisking and stirring, and we all make it a fun playtime to get dinner ready together.”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROBERT QUAILER
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.