Chef Cat Cora says "Bon Appetit" at Sundance

Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:57am EST
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By Jane Clark

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters Life!) - Cat Cora is the executive chef for Bon Appetit magazine, and this week she has been at the Sundance Film Festival, cooking for celebrities at the Bon Appetit Supper Club.

Cora grew up in Mississippi in a Greek household, so she says she was raised on two very strong, types of cuisine, Greek Southern-style cooking. Cora attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating with honors, and afterward went on to two apprenticeships in France with Georges Blanc and Roger Verge.

She continued her career in upstate New York and in Manhattan, Napa Valley and now in Santa Barbara, California. She took a few minutes to sit down with Reuters at Sundance to talk about her passion for world cuisine, cooking at home and how her work has led her to form Chefs for Humanity.

Q: You grew up in a family of restaurateurs, was it assumed you would go into the food industry, or was there a moment when you realized it was your passion?

A: I don't think anyone put any expectations on me that I would carry on the tradition of restaurants. We cooked a lot in our family together. I loved cooking.

I got a degree in exercise physiology with a minor in biology and nutrition first and did wellness for a few years. But then I did have an 'aha moment' where I realized this is what I really want to do -- this is my passion. I really want to be around food and wine and restaurants and that whole atmosphere and vibe and I set off to do that.

Q: How would you describe the food that you cook?

A: The type of cuisine I do, especially after being on 'Iron Chef' for several years, is a lot of global cuisine. My strength has always been Mediterranean cuisine across the board from Morocco, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, but I think now I'm doing a lot of very different cuisines all the time.   Continued...

<p>A view of Main Street at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 14, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>