The Truth About Cat Cora - Mashed (2023)


The Truth About Cat Cora - Mashed (1)

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ByLauren Cahn/Updated: Feb. 3, 2023 9:41 am EST

On March 7, 2021, whenTournament of Championsreturns to Food Network, one of the 16 chefs competing in the boundary-pushing cooking competition will beCat Cora(viaFood Network). If you're thinking that her name sounds familiar, it's probably because you've been hearing it since the late 1990s, when she first turned up on Food Network, co-hostingMelting PotwithRocco Di Spirito(via Cora'swebsite). Now a world-famous chef slashrestaurateur slash author slash health-and-fitness expert slashphilanthropist slash perennial television host for many networks, including Fox, Bravo, and ABC, what Cora may bemostfamous for is her sheer, unabashed moxie.

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Over and over again, Cat Cora has "shattered the glass ceiling" in the perennially male-dominated culinary world, including in 2005, when she became the first female Iron Chef onIron Chef America(via Cora's website). While that victory was, no doubt, one of her most prestigious as far as the foodie world goes, it is really just one of many in a long history of boundary-breaking personal and professional moments for Cora, starting from her childhood. Read on for the truth about Cat Cora.

Even if she hadn't become a celebrity chef, you probably would have known Cat Cora's name

The Truth About Cat Cora - Mashed (2)

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Born Catherine AnnCora on April 3, 1967, Cora was raised in Jackson, Mississippi among several restaurateurs (her father, grandfather, and godfather) (viaIMDb). By the time she was 15, she had drafted up a business plan for her own restaurant (no word on whether she ended up using any of that work when she opened up any of the more than 18 restaurants she has since gone on to found), and even whileshe was studied exercise physiology and biology in college, she continued to pursue her interest in cooking, working in the kitchens of an Italian bistro and a dining club where she prepared classical French cuisine.

After she had her Bachelor of Science degree in hand, Cora matriculated at The Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, New York ... atJulia Child's urging. She went on to train with and work for some of the world's most famous chefs, including Americans Anne Rosenzweig and Larry Forgione, and Michelin-starred French chefs Georges Blanc and Roger Verge.Although it might seem like she was always destined to be a chef, Cat Cora toldMoneyshe'd have been happy as an actress: "I wanted to be on stage in some way," she said. And she may well have become a star of the stage too since, of her rise to celebrity, she toldMoney, "I don't think there are any accidents."

Cat Cora is the mother of six, and it happened unconventionally

The Truth About Cat Cora - Mashed (3)

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Cat Cora has four sons with her ex-wife Jennifer Cora, whom she divorced in 2016 (viaPage Six). The sons are Zoran (born 2003), Caje (born 2007), Thatcher Julius (born 2009), and Nash Lemuel (born 2009). As you can see from Thatcher and Nash's birthdates, something unconventional must have been going on, and indeed there was. According toPeople,Jennifer carried the first three pregnancies, but Cat carried the fourth.

"The doctor implanted Jennifer and me with each other's eggs," Cat Cora explained in a 2010 interview. "So she gave birth to Caje, but he's my biological child. I carried Nash, but he's Jennifer's biological child." Despite that Caje is Cat's biological child, Cat had to adopt him in order to become his legal parent. Likewise, despite that Nash is Jennifer's biological child, Jennifer had to adopt him in order to become his legal parent.

Now, Cat Cora is the mother of six boys, since her current wife, Nicole Ehrlich (pictured right, above, with Cat), came into the marriage with two sons of her own (viaUs Magazine). Cora affectionately refers to herblended family of eight as "the Wolfpack" (viaFacebook).

Cat Cora is happily married now, but her previous marriage was traumatic

Cat Cora married her current wife, Nicole Ehrlich, an award-winning music and music-video producer, on April 21, 2018. "I married the love of my life," she toldUsMagazine. "To share our love and commitment to one another, alongside our six sons, was a dream come true." The two began dating in 2017, the year after Cora's divorce from her first wife, Jennifer Cora, was finalized. Jennifer and Cat Cora had been together for 17 years and had four sons together, but at some point things soured, and when they did, they became unbearable, Cat toldPage Six,with Cat comparing Jennifer to serial killer Ted Bundy, and alleging that Jennifer's happiness came "from making Cat miserable."

Starting in 2015,Jennifer began wanting to destroy Cat's life "at any cost," according to Cat (viaPage Six), who characterized the domestic discord as"a nightmare that I can't wake up from." In September, 2020,Cat filed a petition for a temporary restraining order against Jennifer, claiming domestic violence. Although the order was denied, the legal wrangling continued.The tumultuous relationship between Cat Cora and her ex-wife, Jennifer, is often described as "troubled."

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Cat Cora was arrested for DUI back in 2012

The Truth About Cat Cora - Mashed (5)

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Cat Cora is, in many ways, an admirable person. The President and Founder of Chefs for Humanity (which addresses world hunger) "is well-known for her philanthropic efforts," herwebsitestates. In addition to Chefs for Humanity, Coralaunched the "Women's Empowerment Culinary Internship Program" in 2018, and President Barack Obama awarded her "The President's Volunteer Service Award for helping to address the most pressing needs in her community and our country and The President's Lifetime Achievement Award for building a stronger nation through her volunteer service."

But no one is perfect, including Cora. On June 17, 2012, she was arrested (mugshot above) for driving while under the influence of alcohol after causing a minor car accident in Santa Barbara, California, according to theSanta Barbara Independent. Thankfully, no one was injured, and subsequently, Cora issued a statement through her publicist that she deeply regretted her choice to drive while under the influence, closing with, "This will never happen again."

Cat Cora is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse

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Cat Cora is certainly many things, an accomplished individual who has overcome numerous obstacles over the course of her life. In her memoir,Cooking as Fast as I Can, she revealed for the first time that she was subjected to repeat childhood sexual abuse (via Cat Cora's website). The abuse began at age six and went on until she was 10 or 11, according toDelish, making reference to Cora's book. The perpetrator was a family friend — a member of the family with whom Cora's family spent a weeklong holiday every summer. He was 15 at the start and manipulated Cora into keeping the abuse a secret.

"When that happens to you at such a young age, you really do feel like you're alone in the world," she toldCBS This Morning(viaCBS News). But Cora wanted to empower others by telling the "raw and candid" truth, rather than "sugar-coating" her story, saying that she "channeled her childhood trauma as a drive for success."

(If you, or anyone you know, have been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).)

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What happened to Cat Cora? ›

Cat resides in the Santa Barbara area with her partner and biggest fans, her six sons. Outside the kitchen, Cat is known for her philanthropy. She is President and Founder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization that originated in response to the 2004 Tsunami disaster.

What happened to Cat Cora's wife? ›

This will never happen again." Cora married her longtime partner Jennifer in June 2013, and the couple have four sons together conceived via in vitro fertilization. In 2015, they filed for divorce which was finalized in 2016.

How did Cat Cora have 6 kids? ›

In a new interview with Working Mother, the Iron Chef America competitor reveals that the couple — who used a common sperm donor — each had eggs harvested just once, and now have four little boys to show for their efforts. Arriving at their family of six wasn't as direct as that, however!

Who is Cat Cora's husband? ›

Who is Cat Cora's ex wife? ›

Does Cat Cora have any restaurants? ›

Cat has opened more than 15 restaurants across the United States and globally, highlighting her platform on health, wellness and sustainability.

How many times was Cat Cora married? ›

Iron Chef's Cat Cora has been married twice.

Does Cat Cora have any siblings? ›

Is Cat Cora adopted? ›

Cora was adopted by her Greek parents at 10 days old in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. She said her name was originally Melanie, but it was eventually changed to Catherine.

Has Cat Cora ever been married? ›

Does Cora give birth to a boy? ›

Cora, the star of 'Iron Chef America,' already had two sons with wife Jennifer Cora, Caje and Zoran. Both women gave birth to one of the older kids, and became pregnant at the same time with babies three and four. Over the weekend, Jennifer gave birth to Cat's son Thatcher Julius Cora.

What is Cora known for? ›

Iron Chef, Executive Chef Bon Appetit, Author

Cat Cora '95 is a chef, television personality, author, contributing editor, restaurateur, lifestyle entrepreneur, and the first-ever female Iron Chef on Food Network's Iron Chef America.

Is Cat Cora Italian? ›

Cat Cora was raised in a small Greek community in Jackson, Mississippi, by a family who held strongly to their Greek and Southern heritage. Both her grandfather, father, and godfather were restaurateurs and, by the time she was fifteen, she had already presented a business plan to them for her very own restaurant.

How many biological kids does Cat Cora have? ›

Cat Cora has four sons with her ex-wife Jennifer Cora, whom she divorced in 2016 (via Page Six). The sons are Zoran (born 2003), Caje (born 2007), Thatcher Julius (born 2009), and Nash Lemuel (born 2009).

Where did Cat Cora go to college? ›

Does Cat Cora own Mesa Burger? ›

Cat Cora helped create and launch Mesa Burger at 315 Meigs Road on the Mesa in December 2016.

How old is Coras restaurant? ›

1987. Our founder, Mme Cora, buys a small diner in Montreal's Saint-Laurent district. Thanks to her creativity, her passion for food and devotion to her valued customers, Cora creates an innovative concept for the time: breakfast gastronomy.

Who owns Cora Pearl? ›

Cora Pearl is the second restaurant from the team behind award-winning Kitty Fisher's in Mayfair. Named after the infamous 19th Century courtesan who resided close by, Cora Pearl serves elevated British comfort food, cocktails and wines for all occasions in an historic Covent Garden townhouse.

How much is Cora worth? ›

Cora Jade's net worth is estimated to be around $1.5 million as of 2023. She mainly earns from professional wrestling.

What race is Cora? ›

The Cora are an indigenous ethnic group of North Western Mexico which live in the municipality El Nayar, Rosamorada, Ruiz, Tepic, in the Mexican state of Nayarit, Mezquital in Durango and in a few settlements in the neighboring state of Jalisco.

What are 3 fun facts about Cat Cora? ›

She craves hummus.

Cora revealed that she has to eat hummus every few hours. She cannot live without hummus as part of her daily nutritional regimen. She refers to hummus as an all-purpose food and admits that she eats her weight in hummus. She believes she would have made a great rockstar.

Does Cora have a fourth child? ›

Cora Crawley discovers she is pregnant with her fourth child, which leaves Mary Crawley wondering how to answer Matthew's proposal since his situation would change completely if the baby turns out to be a boy.

Who has custody of Cat Cora's children? ›

Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Thomas P. Anderle denied the motion on June 6, 2020, saying that the cuts the chef sought would leave Jennifer Cora, who is unemployed and has custody of the former couple's four children, homeless.

How old is Kat Cora? ›

Who was the first female Iron Chef? ›

Cat Cora represents the South on America's Best Cook.

She made television history in 2005 when she became the first female Iron Chef on Food Network's Iron Chef America.

Why did Cora take out her heart? ›

As Gold nears death, Cora breaks through Emma's spell and magically sends Emma and Neal away. Gold asks Cora if she ever loved him. She admits that she did, and that was why she had to remove her heart; he had become her weakness.

Is Thomas Lord Grantham's son? ›

Cora decides who's inheriting – and it's not Lady Mary's son

She knows that Thomas is the illegitimate son of O'Brien and Lord Grantham – and the rightful heir to the house.

Does Cora find out about Marigold? ›

Cora finds out the truth about Marigold and summons the Dowager Countess and Aunt Rosamund to her bedroom.

What does Cora fear and why? ›

The station seems to have caved in, and Cora fears that she is trapped underground again.

Is Cora a princess? ›

Princess Cora Mills, also known as the Queen of Hearts, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

What language do the Cora people speak? ›

Cora is an indigenous language of Mexico of the Uto-Aztecan language family, spoken by approximately 30,000 people. It is spoken by the ethnic group that is widely known as the Cora, but who refer to themselves as Naáyarite.

What did Cat Cora do after culinary school? ›

Cora as Executive Chef and Restaurant Entrepreneur

She had made her mark in the San Francisco Bay area as Executive chef at Postino in Lafayette after stints in New York and France.

How many children did Cat Cora give birth to? ›

Cat Cora is the mother of six, and it happened unconventionally. Cat Cora has four sons with her ex-wife Jennifer Cora, whom she divorced in 2016 (via Page Six). The sons are Zoran (born 2003), Caje (born 2007), Thatcher Julius (born 2009), and Nash Lemuel (born 2009).

What is a fun fact about Cat Cora? ›

In 2006, Cora was awarded Bon Appetit Magazine's “Teacher of the Year” Award and was named the Executive Chef of the magazine. If this was not enough, she also went on to become the first female to be inducted into The American Academy of Chef's Culinary Hall of Fame.

Where does Cat Cora live right now? ›

In July 2012, she became the first female chef to be inducted into the American Academy of Chefs® Culinary Hall of Fame. In September 2015, Cat released her personal memoir Cooking as Fast as I Can. She currently lives in Santa Barbara, CA with her wife and four boys.

Which president did Cat Cora cook for? ›

None other than 44th President Barack Obama and former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. No pressure there.


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