Interview with Iron Chef Cat Cora and Cookbook Giveaway!

The Chicago Gourmet held last weekend played host to many of Chicago’s famous chefs, including Rick Bayless and Jimmy Bannos, Sr. But the event also brought in other, more international chefs, including one Iron Chef – Cat Cora. During this event, I had the pleasure of chatting with Cat Cora about her latest book, how she gets her kids to eat new dishes, and about her new show on OWN – the Oprah Winfrey Network.

5 Minutes and 5 Questions with Iron Chef Cat Cora

1) When you’re not doing cooking shows and book tours, what’s a typical day like for you?

I get up with my kids (four boys under age 6), we eat breakfast together, get lunches ready for school, get everybody dressed, then wrangle everybody together to head to school. After that, I go to work in my home office. I also try to get in a workout, maybe a little yoga. Then we end up back at home and done with everything by 5 PM to eat dinner and spend some quality time together.

2) In your latest book, Cat Cora’s Classics With A Twist, you have a variety of flavor combinations and ethnic foods. How do you get your kids or kids in general to eat these ethnic foods and try different things? My kids don’t eat everything that I cook for them in this new book. There are some things that they’re just not ready for. It’s about getting them involved in meal planning and mealtimes, gearing the food toward them and actually getting them invested in the meal. If you get kids invested in the meal, they tend to eat more and eat more often, and they feel empowered because they can help make decisions about the meal. And this whole discussion with kids should be a 5-minute conversation not a two hour negotiation – give them two options and have them pick one.

3) How do you decide if/when a new recipe will be added to your restaurant menu?

You need to decide who your audience is first, which helps narrow things down. Then, you need to think about the style of restaurant you have and your concept. When we started the restaurant at Disney, we really had to look at things that were familiar to people. We couldn’t get too crazy or too out-of-the box because it is Disney. You get people from all over the world and there are a lot of different things that they like to eat. We’re about to open a sexy lounge with small plates at the Virgin America terminal at the San Francisco airport. That’s a whole different dynamic and a whole different audience.

4) If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?

I definitely know that I would want to perform. I would have definitey tried to go into acting of some kind. I also love to write, so maybe a novelist – and I can still do that, it’s in the future plans!

5) What’s on the horizon for Cat Cora?

I have a new show coming out in January 2011 on Oprah’s network – OWN (which stands for Oprah Winfrey Network). It’s an hour-long show, once a week. We can’t announce what it is or what the name is just yet, but it’s really about bringing families together about food and solving people’s dilemmas in the kitchen – very similar to an intervention show. I’m super excited about it.

Cookbook Giveaway

In keeping with the chef/cooking theme, I’m giving away a brand new book by another notable chef and author Jennifer Chandler. Her book Simply Suppers features homestyle comfort foods, such as potato soup and enchiladas, with a southern flair.

To enter the giveaway, you can either…

  1. Leave a comment on this post about who your favorite celebrity chef is and why OR
  2. Tweet/Retweet this post

You have until Tuesday, October 5 at 9 PM Eastern to enter. Good luck!


  1. I LOVE Cat Cora! Its not often enough that you get to see a great female chef bring it hardcore like she does.

    I am also a HUGE fan of Mario Batali.

  2. I love Paula Deen! I watch her show and want to eat everything she makes!

  3. Christina Almond says


    christinaalmond at gmail dot com

    Also…I really love Mario Batali! I love his upbeat personality and his cooking is genius! 🙂

  4. I LOVE Cat Cora!
    ricettebarbare at gmail dot com

  5. That’s a hard question. I do love Cat Cora but also Paula Deen, Giada, Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Gina and Pat Neeley, Aarti, Sara Moulton, Rachael Allen, Rick Bayless, and more. I guess if I had to pick just one it’d be Ina Garten.
    joosbornenc at yahoo dot com

  6. Does Julia Child count? Seriously, she started it all. 🙂

  7. How cool you got to interview her!!! 4 boys under 6? Dear lord.

  8. My favorite is Julia Child, I grew up watching her on PBS with my mom. 🙂

  9. fabioviviani says

    @RunWithCake why you want to give it away ?!

  10. My favorite celebrity chef is Kathy Hoshijo. She was on public access shows out of Hawaii and, from what I understand, was a big part in creating the Down to Earth grocery stores offering whole foods at reasonable prices. I only saw her show as repeats on my local public television station, but she was always so warm and friendly, and her cooking style so unique.

  11. Man that is so tough! I am going to go with Cat Cora. Guess what? I am watching her right now on the Today show, how cool is that!


  12. Well Cat of course! I also like Rachel Ray’s easy recipes. I love Paula Deen’s artery choking and delicious recipes but I can’t bear to watch her.

  13. I really like the Barefoot Contessa 🙂

  14. My favorite celebrity chef is Bobby Flay. I love watching his Throwdown show.