Catherine “Cat” Cora 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, a Greek American, was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and raised in a Greek community in Jackson. 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.
After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology and Biology at the University of Southern Mississippi, she enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. 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).
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.”
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.