Last night, I was able to RSVP for a special demonstration held at Macy’s South Coast Plaza home store in Costa Mesa. It was a special cooking event held by Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Cat Cora where she would be demonstrating some new dishes in lieu of her newest book “Classics With a Twist: Fresh Takes on Favorite Dishes.”
My girlfriend and co-worker, Kathy & I, were super excited and happy to be part of this fun-filled foodie event. She came last minute with me when I had another girlfriend cancel on me, and I’m so glad that I was able to share this with her. We drove down together after work and was on cloud nine to see a WOMAN chef. We had gotten to the event a little early and was able to sample food from CCQ (Cat Cora’s Que) at the Macy’s signature kitchen. It’s a global barbecue with a great selection of her signature sauces – I’ll have to go back to try some more!
Cat is determined to keep the tradition of family dinners with her fresh classic takes because she’s quite the family gal herself. Her partner and her have 4 boys, and she looks amazing for having a one year old. She’s a Greek-American born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi and her food is all about fusion and she’s very true to her Greek Southern roots. I love whenever she finishes her Iron Chef battles they break out the Ouzo shots!
Cat Cora is really down to earth and so likable, and so darn cute and petite. She’s the first and only woman Iron Chef on the famous “Iron Chef America.” One of her mentors that I’m envious about is Julia Child who gave her advice to pursue her dreams – her culinary degree was from CIA in NY.
Her current cookbook uses a lot of lime versus lemon from her previous cookbooks. She loves this dish – Grilled chili-lime flank steak soft tacos with charred pineapple salsa served alongside with her broccoli slaw. Both dishes were pretty tasty and so flavorful – the combination of the sweet pineapple and savory flank steak are a great pairing. We were so foodie-excited that we got samplings of the dishes that she made. Cat had admitted that she fell in love with Mexican food from her Taco Bell college days – hey at one point in our lives we had to make do and survive. One of those survival things was to eat what you could but she’s beyond those Taco Bell days, and nowadays she is preparing dishes that she enjoys herself something much more appetizing.
This isn’t your grandmother’s typical dessert of Ambrosia. This was Cat Cora’s version “Grapefruit and cherry ambrosia with honey cream.” It was absolutely heavenly – the nutty walnuts, freshly toasted coconut and fresh ruby red grapefruit, fresh cut pineapples and freshly pitted bing cherries – it was a perfect ending to her taco meal.
Afterwards, we got our cookbooks signed by her and I was able to talk to her one on one. I asked her about her famous mentor, Julia Child. What was the best advice that she gave you because I’m a fellow foodie and cook as well? She told me that “to follow through and just work hard. It’s that easy – just follow your dreams.” She gave me a hug and told me to not give up.
Overall, I had one of the best experiences meeting Cat Cora and this was one of the best food demonstrations that I’ve attended to date. I also ran into an old college friend, Earl, who is a another foodie. Shout out to his cool fun food blog – We Eatz! We even got cool gifts with purchase of her cookbook – I got a lazy susan with cutting board and a Pyrex measuring glass. Food demo from Cat Cora, food samplings, her new cookbook with her autograph, talking to her in general, great company from my fellow foodie, hanging out with fellow foodies – what more can I ask for? Ahhhh, I love my foodie fun life. Thanks Cat Cora for an amazing night!