1. She’s a character in a video game.
In 2008, Cat was involved in the creation of a video game based on the popular Iron Chef America TV show. Called Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine, the game featured fast-paced gameplay with a cooking related theme. It used not only Cat’s likeness, but voice acting performed by the lady herself. Alton Brown, Mario Batali and Masaharu Morimoto all provided their voices and character likenesses as well.
2. She co-founded the nonprofit organization “Chefs for Humanity” and is its currently president.
Chefs for Humanity is a humanitarian organization dedicated to hunger relief, nutrition education, and disaster relief to underserved areas around the world. Cat helped found the nonprofit in 2005 and still takes an active role in the day to day operations of the organization. The group provided clean cooking utensils and appliances (ranges, refrigeration equipment, and similar items) to families that were affected by the disaster in Haiti, and continues to take an active role in the country. As president of the organization, Cat travels around the world promoting and helping families in need.
3. She has cooking in her blood.
Cat is a successful chef in her own right, but did you know that she comes from a long line of chefs and restaurateurs? Her father, godfather, and grandfather were all successful chefs. In her home country of Greece, her grandmother was known as a fantastic cook as well.
4. She has a degree in exercise as as well as a culinary degree from The Culinary Institute of America.
Although Cat knew from an early age that she wanted to be a chef, she was concerned that she would not be able to get a job once she finished her culinary training. As she was coming of age and deciding on her education and future career, there were not a lot of chefs who were role models she could look to for inspiration. She decided to “hedge her bets” and enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she earned her BA in Exercise Physiology and Biology. She went on to study at the The Culinary Institute of America in New York.
5. Her family is from Greece.
Although Cat grew up in the South, her family is originally from Greece. They moved from Skopelos (located in the Northern Aegean) to America before she was born. When they immigrated through Ellis Island in New York, her grandfather changed his name from Karagiozos to Cora. Immigrants often changed their name to make it more easily pronounced in English. This custom still occurs to some extent, but is less common in recent years.
6. Cat divorced her longtime domestic partner and wife in 2015 (yes, she is).
It doesn’t always work out. After being involved in a domestic partnership for over 17 years and being married for two, she divorced her wife Jennifer in November 2015. The couple had a bit of trouble agreeing to custody terms for their children with Jennifer requesting full custody and Cat requesting partial custody. The issues have since been worked out.
7. She has four children, all conceived via in vitro fertilization.
Cat has four sons, all conceived using in vitro or “artificial” fertilization techniques with her ex-wife Jennifer. Both Cat and Jennifer contributed fertile eggs to the process, and both carried children. Her sons are named Zoran, Caje, Thatcher, and Nash. She was forced to legally adopt them due to same sex couple laws in California at the time. The name of the children’s father has never been made public.
8. She owns a restaurant in Singapore.
She opened Cat Cora’s Kitchen in 2011 at the Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. That restaurant’s success allowed her to open another location in Salt Lake City. Her restaurants focus on using organic and locally sourced ingredients, offering signature cocktails and tapas. She also operates Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora in Singapore. The restaurant is located inside a giant aquarium where guests are treated to spectacular views of ocean wildlife while they dine.
9. She hawks garbage disposals.
Cat wants to make money, just like everyone else. And professional chefs need to dispose of food waste even more than the rest of us, right? Hello, garbage disposal. Back in 2006, Cat signed up to be the celebrity spokesperson for InSinkerator brand garbage disposals. She represents the Evolution Series of garbage disposals—the high end series with the technology to efficiently grind difficult food items like bones and potato peels. She has done print ads and appearances around the country in support of the brand.
10. She was the first female inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
Sure, she was the first female Iron Chef. But in 2012, Cat Cora was the 25th chef—and the first female—to be inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame, joining 75 other members. Not all inductees are chefs, but all are related to the field of cooking to a great extent. Cat speaks of her induction with great pride and honor, calling it the highlight of her career.