Interview with Out “Iron Chef” Cat Cora

It’s been a big year for celebrity chef Cat Cora. Last month, she launched a new restaurant, Kouzzina, at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where diners can enjoy her fresh twist on traditional Greek cuisine (try Cat’s "Ouzo-tini"), and now she’s gearing up for an all new season of her Food Network hit series, Iron Chef America, where she currently reigns as the only female Iron Chef, who also just happens to be a lesbian.

As if her plate weren’t already full, Cora gave birth to a son Nash Lemuel in July, and her wife, Jennifer, gave birth to another son, Thatcher Julius, in April (the couple has two other sons, Zoran and Caje).

And somehow she’s also finding time to serve as the executive chef for Bon Appetit magazine, found and preside over Chefs for Humanity, tackle mulitple television pilots and lay the groundwork for having her very own show in the near future. Is there anything Cat Cora can’t do?

In the midst of juggling a booming career, humanitarian work and her growing family, Cora found time for a quick email interview with AfterEllen.com to talk about being an Iron Chef, tackling the obesity epidemic in America, and her plan to take Dancing With the Stars by storm.

AfterEllen.com: Congratulations on the births of your sons and the opening of your new restaurant, Kouzzina. How are you juggling having two new babies in the house, competing on Iron Chef, and launching a very high profile new restaurant?
Cat Cora:
I have great support at home with Jennifer and others and I have a great team around me professionally.

Cat and Jennifer Cora

AE: What’s your favorite new dish on the menu at Kouzzina?
CC
: The Kota Kapama [Greek cinnamon chicken] is a family favorite, my soul food.

AE: I know that you’re very passionate about teaching healthy eating habits at home to families. Do you have any theories about the solution to the obesity epidemic among children and adults in the U.S.?
CC:
Yes, my theory is that you have to start with the parents and kids TOGETHER. The parents are the ones who shop for food, cook the food and feed the kids. They are the ones who decide whether or not to drive through that drive thru for fast food. So, educating them along with teaching the kids is key.

AE: You have a strong presence on Iron Chef America, particularly as the lone female Iron Chef on the show. Do you feel added pressure to excel in order to prove that a woman can be just as formidable an opponent as a male chef?
CC:
I used to feel gender pressure, but now it is more about being a chef and beating my challengers. It has taken many seasons and a good bit of wins to get there, but it is a good step forward.

AE: Do you have a favorite (or least favorite) battle or secret ingredient in your time on Iron Chef America?
CC:
A whole hog was the least, obviously. :) The best was probably honey.

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