Cat Cora, a chef on the Food Network's popular Iron Chef America series, says she knew from an early age she'd end up in the kitchen. Cat talks with Gayle about being raised in a family of great cooks, her role on Iron Chef America and her future plans.
Cat says when she got the call asking her to be the first and only female on Iron Chef America it was a no-brainer decision for her. Each week in the show, an Iron Chef competes against a challenger chef, both of whom must use a "secret ingredient" as the basis for a multicourse meal. Cat says it can definitely be a challenge depending on what the ingredient is, but there isn't anything she has found so far that she can't work with. "Most ingredients I can really tackle," she says. "I can really take something and make something out of it."
Besides continuing her work on the show, Cat says one of her dreams is to open a Greek-inspired restaurant in honor of her Greek family. "I grew up with really strong influences in my life," she says. "My dad is a grill master to this day—he smokes turkeys and briskets; he taught me all that. My mom and grandmother learned eclectic American cooking, so I learned some global dishes from them."
Cat says anyone can learn how to cook—they just need to have a little dedication and a good teacher. "I have taught people who have no inkling how to boil water how to cook," she says. "So if you can find someone who is nurturing enough to teach you and really give you some of those quick tricks of the trade, you can learn."