Cat Cora is the co-host of Bravo’s “Around the World in 80 Plates,” and was the Food Network’s first female “Iron Chef.” She was born and raised in a Greek community in Jackson, Miss., and developed a love for cooking as a child, going so far as to prepare a restaurant business plan at age 15.
The lesbian celebrity chef counts Julia Child, Barbara Tropp, M.F.K. Fisher and her grandmother Alma among her culinary influences and has opened several high profile restaurants, including Kouzzina at Disneyworld, CCQ in Costa Mesa, California, and Cat Cora’s Kitchen at Houston and San Francisco Airports.
You may know her competitive style in the kitchen, but here are 10 facts you might not already know about Cat Cora.
- She was born New Years’ Day in 1968.
- If not for a name change provided to her grandfather as he came through Ellis Island as an immigrant, the “Iron Chef” star would be known as Cat Karagiozos.
- Both her father and grandfather owned restaurants when she was growing up.
- She was once a paid spokeswoman for InSinkErator garbage disposals.
- Cora and her partner, Jennifer, have four sons – Zoran, Caje, Thatcher, and Nash. Jennifer bore the first three and Cora gave birth to Nash just three months after Jennifer delivered Thatcher.
- She was inspired to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America after receiving an inspirational pep talk from her idol Julia Child at a book-signing event for Child. She signed up the very next day.
- Cora is a stickler for being on time.
- Warm pecan pie with vanilla ice cream is her “must-have” holiday dish.
- She has a B.S. in Biology and Exercise Physiology from the University of Southern Mississippi.
- She is the founder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization committed to promoting nutrition education, hunger relief and emergency and humanitarian aid to reduce hunger worldwide.