Cat Cora is a professional chef famous for her featured role as an “Iron Chef” on the Food Network television hit show Iron Chef America. Cat Cora was the first-ever female Iron Chef in the show.
Cat Cora was born April 3, 1967, in Jackson, Mississippi, the daughter of Virginia Lee (née Brothers) and Spiro Pete Cora who is of Greek descent. Cora’s Greek family (on her dad’s side) is from the the Greek island of Skopelos. Both her grandfather and father were in the restaurant business. Cat Cora’s first book, appropriately named “Cat Cora’s Kitchen”, was inspired by her Southern roots and her Greek heritage. Her cookbook includes several recipes that were her family’s favorites while Cat was growing up in Jackson, Mississippi.
Is Cat Cora Greek?
Yes, she’s half-Greek on her father’s side. Her family is from the Greek island of Skopelos. Cat Cora was raised in a small Greek community in Jackson, Mississippi. According to Cora, her family held strongly to their Greek and Southern heritage. 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.
Here’s what Cat Cora said about her heritage and upbringing while receiving a “Humanitarian Artistic Award” in 2009:
“Iʼm a proud Greek American. I was raised in Virginia by my American mother who embraced Greek Orthodoxy and Greek culture from the moment she met my father, Spiros. I have to say that now sheʼs more of a Greek than he is! My Greek family, my father, my grandfather, actually, when he came over from Skopelos to Ellis Island, our familyʼs name was Karagiozos and still is, when we go home to Greece. This award is not just for me, itʼs for my parents, itʼs for my family in Greece, for my grandfather and my grandmother – my Yiayia. What they instilled in me is a true love of Greece that will always be part of my spirit and passion. In turn, Iʼll pass it on to my children, my boys, teach them the beauty and the power of my Greek heritage. Itʼs important to me and to all of us that we evolve, in the next generation, while always keeping the flame of our history and traditions alive. I will continue to back our Greek community while helping others throughout the world with my charity and love of humanity.” – GreekNews Online, May 25, 2009