Iron Chef Cat Cora: The iron-willed lesbian chef
The Iron Chef star Cat Cora said that she hasn’t experienced as much discrimination for being a lesbian, but more for being a woman.
But Cora, who had come out as a lesbian at the age of 19, admitted that this was because she had always been “strong in who I am and confident in who I am as a lesbian.”
Cat Cora doesn’t care what others think
In an interview with HuffPost, Cora said that, “For me personally, I have experienced more harassment and discrimination as a woman than I have as a lesbian.”
She added that this is “very interesting and I think one of the reasons for that is that I don’t really care what people think about me.”
“I grew up in a place, in Mississippi, that wasn’t easy to grow up in. I was out to my family at the age of 19 and once they knew, I really didn’t care what anybody else thought,” she related.
“There are times when I had to be more cautious but that’s changed, we are a much more accepting society– although not always,” she explained.
She also admitted that her story is “not everybody’s story” and that the LGBTQ community should keep fighting for equality.
Cat Cora, before Iron Chef and after
A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Catherine Ann Cora became known as the first-ever female “Iron Chef” on the Food Network TV show Iron Chef America in 2005.
Before that, she got her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology and Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi and then trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park in New York.
After her stint with Iron Chef, she co-hosted on BRAVO’s Around the World in 80 Plates as well as FOX’s My Kitchen Rules and ABC’s Family Food Fight.
Cora has opened more than 18 restaurants across the US and the world. She also became the first female inducted into The American Academy of Chefs Culinary Hall of Fame.
After founding the non-profit Chefs for Humanity and the Women’s Empowerment Culinary Internship Program, President Barack Obama awarded her The President’s Volunteer Service Award and the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
While she was married to her longtime partner in 2013, she is currently married to producer Nicole Ehrlich. They live in Santa Barbara, California with their six children.
Cat Cora on the progress of LGBTQ rights
Cora noted that it’s still important to speak out on the rights of the LGBTQ community for the sake of its younger members.
“We just had a major victory for LGBTQ+ employees around the United States and I think it’s important for us to speak out, because the youth doesn’t have our story [necessarily],” she said.
“They are committing suicide and that is tragic and we can’t let that happen,” she said.
She pointed out: “Look at where we are with gay marriage. We look back right now and say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe gay marriage wasn’t legal’.”
“I think it’s about never giving up and finding a mentor, a positive influence in your life, whoever that might be. Because it only takes one person to believe in you,” she said.