A few weeks ago, we got to meet Cat Cora, the only female Iron Chef, in person! She is just adorable, as you can see from this great pic Lon took of her. Despite being a celebrity chef, she has an incredibly warm vibe and seems really down to earth.

Cat Cora at a Press Event

She’s got so much on her plate (catch her on Oprah today!) yet took the time to answer some questions for us.

FoodMayhem (FM): Chef Cat Cora, thank you for speaking with FoodMayhem.com. You’re a restaurateur, celebrity, author, editor, mom, spokesperson, and non-profit founder–in other words, you’re busy! How do you balance everything in your work life and your personal life?

Chef Cat Cora (CC): When I am at home with my family, I try to be in the moment as much as I can. When I’m on the road we try to arrange for my family to come with me, if possible. That way, I get the best of both worlds.

FM: Thank you for creating Chefs for Humanity; we think it’s awesome! How can FoodMayhem readers get involved for 2009?

CC: Readers can find more information on the organization’s website www.chefsforhumanity.org. There they can learn more about Chefs for Humanity and any upcoming projects we have. We highly encourage people to get involved and help to make a difference.

FM: We love watching you on Iron Chef and you always seem super.. But, would you reveal your kryptonite? In other words, what ingredient would give you the most trouble, if it showed up as a secret ingredient?

CC: Any ingredient that is very secondary, such as dairy or flour, are tricky. Things that aren’t normally the main component/flavor of a dish are difficult to make stand out and be flavorful at the same time.

FM: For us, food is life… love… religion even. Where is your food Mecca ? Where do you travel to for food?

CC: I have found great dishes most everywhere I’ve traveled to. Every place has it’s own amazing foods and fresh ingredients. Great tropical locations, such as Costa Rica or Singapore, usually have amazingly fresh and flavorful produce. I also love visiting locally owned, smaller mom and pop places or places that locals recommend. They are my favorite places to try out.

FM: Even food lovers dislike some foods. Are there ingredients you don’t like?

CC: I don’t typically eat a lot of sausage but it has its moments and place every once in a while.

FM: You grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, but now you live in Santa Barbara, California. Tell us about your local food scene: where do you shop for food (e.g. restaurants, retail stores, web sites, etc.)?

CC: My family and I frequent local farmers markets and smaller organic stores, which are mainstays in SoCa. They are absolutely the best places to find fresh, seasonal foods and it is important to us to support the local farmers. Farm-to-table freshness is very important to my family and I.

FM: Speaking of the home scene, can you lend advice to our readers at home? FoodMayhem readers tend to be better-than-average cooks; they strive to be the best they can. What steps can home cooks take to become better, more professional cooks?

CC: Keep cooking! Keep experimenting and tweaking recipes to fit your taste. Branch out and learn about other culture. Vacations are a great way to do this hands on, but if you can’t get away, just explore your hometown area! Every city offers so much diversity so if you can’t vacation – explore what is around you.

FM: Speaking of being best, you know something about being the best in cooking shows. Other than Iron Chef America, what are the best cooking shows?

CC: I think almost all the shows on Food Network are entertaining and educational for the home viewer. It’s great in that there are a vast variety of talent being showcased so there is something for everyone’s tastes.

FM: What qualities attract you to these shows?

CC: The variety of shows and chefs that are featured, each providing a special flare or twist to fulfill any type of viewers

FM: You cook in many scenarios, the shapes and sizes of kitchens change, but you don’t. Has being a petite, female chef ever posed any difficulties?

CC: I think people may underestimate my potential as a petite female chef, but I have always proven them wrong. My motto is “Small, but mighty!”

FM: We’ve talked about many things you’ve done and are doing, what’s next for Chef Cat Cora?

CC: We’re working on several additional show ideas, my own line of cookware, and several restaurants nationwide – we’ve got a lot of pots on the stove right now, so to speak! I also recently opened my first restaurant concept, CCQ (Cat Cora’s Barbeque) at Macy’s in Costa Mesa, CA. I’m very excited to expand this to other Macy’s in the months and years to come!

Visit my website often to stay in the loop of it all – www.catcoracooks.com

My friend Sara just alerted me to more breaking news on Cat Cora, she and her partner, Jennifer, are both pregnant!

posted by jessica at 08:43 AM Filed under Celebrities, Interviews, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.