(CBS SF) – Cat Cora grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, attended the Culinary Institute of America, and worked in New York City before traveling overseas to apprentice in Europe with world-renowned French chefs George Blanc and Roger Vergé.
She got her first break on TV in San Francisco in 1999 on “Bay Cafe” with Joey Altman on KRON4 & Bay TV. “I got the bug pretty quickly”. The Food Network come knocking soon after and she went on to become the first female Iron Chef.
Philanthropy is also part of the Cat Cora story. She is the founder of the charitable organization Chefs for Humanity, and she has built a brand that includes food lines, cookware, and restaurants around the globe.
In her memoir “Cooking As Fast As I Can” Cora writes with tenderness about the meals that shaped her memories and about finding courage and redemption in the dark truths of her past—and learning how to forgive. She tells the story of how she found solace in the kitchen and in work, and how her passion for cooking helped her to overcome hardships and ultimately find happiness as a chef, a wife, and a mother. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her wife and four sons.
With a new restaurant in Singapore and ardent fans across the world, Cora’s reputation is global. There is simply no stopping this amazing chef & entrepreneur who made the Bay Area Home for 10 years. As she told me during our recent interview before a Macy’s culinary council food demo “…part of my heart is still here in San Francisco.”
Enjoy my tasty talk with Chef Cat Cora, below:
Chef Cat Cora’s Greek Cinnamon Stewed Chicken, Koto Kapama
- 1 chicken (2 1 half-3 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 peeled garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 peeled, coarsely chopped medium yellow onions
- 1 half cup dry white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1-6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 half cup grated Mizithra cheese
Pre-boil water with sea salt.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. A wet chicken will cause the oil to splatter while the chicken is sauteing. Mix the cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the chicken pieces on all sides with the seasoning.
Mince 3 of the garlic cloves. Heat the olive oil in a large non-reactive deep skillet over high heat, A 12 inch skillet with sides about 2 ½ to 3 inches high will allow you to brown all the chicken at once. If you don’t have a skillet large enough, brown them in two batches using 1/2 the oil for each batch. What’s important is that the chicken isn’t overcrowded which would cause them to steam rather than brown.
Add the chicken to the oil and brown for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn the pieces using a metal spatula, as they have a tendency to stick to the pan. Remove the pieces when they are well browned on all sides.
Lower the heat to medium-high and add the onions and minced garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the onions have softened and are a rich golden brown. Add the wine, and scrap the bottom of the pan with a spatula or spoon to deglaze the pan, loosening any particles stuck on the bottom.
When the wine has evaporated, add the water, chicken stock,tomato paste, fresh oregano and remaining 2 garlic cloves. Return the chicken to the pan. The liquid should cover about 3/4 of the chicken pieces. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for about an hour or until the chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked. If the sauce becomes too thick, it can be thinned with a little more water. Season the finished sauce with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the chicken topped with the sauce and sprinkle with Mizithra cheese.
For more info on Chef Cat Cora, visit www.catcora.com