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Catherine "Cat" Cora (born April 3, 1967) is an American professional chef best known for her featured role as an "Iron Chef" on the Food Network television show Iron Chef America.


Cora was born and raised in a Greek community in Jackson, Mississippimarker. Her grandfather and father were both restaurateurs. When she was 15-years-old, she brought a business plan to her father and grandfather, knowing they could help her. Cat was inspired by Julia Child, Barbara Tropp, M.F.K. Fisher and Cora's grandmother, Alma. They all showed her what it took to be a chef. Her cuisine is a blend of her Greek and Southern roots like her favorite dish kota kapama (Greek chicken with tomato and oil sauce), Garlic Couscous, and slow-cooked lamb shanks with feta salsa verde.

After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology and Biology at the University of Southern Mississippimarker, she enrolled at the Culinary Institute of Americamarker in Hyde Parkmarker, New Yorkmarker. Cora has also appeared on Simplify Your Life. She was also a co-host of the Food Network show Kitchen Accomplished. She has also coined the term Hellasian, referring to a fusion cuisine combining Greek and Asian cooking. She is the only female Iron Chef in its franchise history (including the Japanese version of Iron Chef). At the end of every Iron Chef America competition, she shares a shot of ouzo with her team.

In January 2005, Cora co-founded Chefs For Humanity, which describes itself as "a grassroots coalition of chefs and culinary professionals guided by a mission to quickly be able to raise funds and provide resources for important emergency and humanitarian aid, nutritional education, and hunger-related initiatives throughout the world." She has also participated in charity wine auctions held by Auction Napa Valleymarker.

In 2006, she was hired as a paid spokesperson for InSinkErator Evolution series garbage disposals. In partnership with 3 Street Media, she is developing The Cat Cora Show, a talk show devoted to food and wine which she will produce and host. Cora is also Executive Chef for Bon Appétit magazine and a UNICEF spokesperson. In March 2006, Cora was the Grand Marshal for Hal and Mal's St. Paddy's Parade in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi.. In the September 2006 issue of FHM, Cora was featured in the cooking section, where she demonstrated various recipes using items purchased from a convenience store. Cat Cora also belongs to Macy's Culinary Councils, amongst Tyler Florence, Rick Bayless, and others. She has worked as an entertainer for The Olivia Companies, a travel company catering to the lesbian market.. She has purchased a Salvador Dalí print at auction, which she describes as her "first piece of true artwork."Cora was a winner of the Bon Appétit American Food and Entertaining Awards for 2006. In 2008, she was awarded the Hero Visibility Award by the Human Rights Campaign.

It was announced in Spring, 2009 that Cora will be partnering with the Walt Disney World Resortmarker in Orlando, FL in a new restaurant venture, Kouzzina. The restaurant will be set to open in the Fall of 2009, and will be located at Disney's BoardWalk Innmarker, in the former Spoodles venue. The restaurant soft opened on August 15, 2009.

Personal life

Cora is married to Jennifer Cora. They live in Santa Barbara, California, with their sons Zoran and Caje. In March 2009, Cora revealed that both she and Jennifer were pregnant with sons; the boys would be born three months apart in 2009. Cat reported that all four children have the same sperm donor. Additionally, Cora and her wife were surrogates for each other's embryos. Jennifer gave birth to Thatcher Julius on Saturday, April 4. Cat gave birth to Nash Lemuel on Sunday, July 19.


  • Cat Cora’s Kitchen: Favorite Meals for Family and Friends (2004). ISBN 0-8118-3998-2. Co-authored with Ann Krueger Spivack. Photography by Maren Caruso.
  • Cooking From the Hip: Fast, Easy, Phenomenal Meals (2007). ISBN 0-6187-2990-9. Co-authored with Ann Krueger Spivack.
  • Under the Olive Tree (in development)


  1. Yancey, Kitty Bean. "'Iron Chef' Cat Cora is out of the bag", USA Today, March 31, 2006.
  2. Yancey, Kitty Bean. "What's cookin' with 'Iron Chef' Cat Cora", USA Today, April 5, 2006.
  3. Food Network profile
  4. Chefs For Humanity: About Us
  5. Chefs For Humanity: Home page
  6. Auction Napa Valley
  7. Rovito, Rich. "Elevating the garbage disposal", The Business Journal of Milwaukee, July 28, 2006.
  8. Cat Cora Named Executive Chef of Bon Appétit Magazine, PR Newswire, August 9, 2006.
  9. "Chefs for Humanity president Cat Cora joins UNICEF as spokesperson", UNICEF, January 20, 2006.
  10. Lucas, Sherry. "Iron Chef to lead Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade", The Clarion-Ledger, January 1, 2006
  11. The Olivia Companies
  12. Rose, Lacey. The Chef: Cat Cora, Forbes, February 14, 2006.
  13. "Chef steeling herself for TV's Iron Chef competition", San Francisco Chronicle, April 1, 2005.
  14. Cat Cora and Wife Each Pregnant With a Boy Celebrity Baby Blog, March 9, 2009
  17. All American Talent & Celebrity Network

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