Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Chef's Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness

Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Chef's Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness

Cat Cora

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 1476766150

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“Affecting….as warm and comforting as a home-cooked meal” (People), a no-holds-barred memoir on Southern life, Greek heritage, same sex marriage—and the meals that have shaped her memories—from the Food Network star and first female winner of Iron Chef, Cat Cora.

Before she became a renowned chef and Food Network star, Cat Cora was just a girl from Jackson, Mississippi, where days were slow and every meal was made from scratch. By the age of fifteen, Cora was writing the business plan for her first restaurant. Her love of cooking started in her Greek home, where fresh feta and home-cured olives graced the table. Cat spent her days internalizing the dishes that would form the cornerstone of her cooking philosophy—from crispy fried chicken and honey-drenched biscuits to spanakopita. But outside the kitchen, Cat’s life was volatile.

In Cooking as Fast as I Can, Cat Cora reveals the experiences that shaped her life—from early childhood sexual abuse to the realities of life as lesbian in the deep South. She chronicles how she found her passion in the kitchen and went on to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and apprentice under Michelin star chefs in France. After her big break as a co-host with Rocco Di Spirito on the Food Network’s Melting Pot, Cat broke barriers by becoming the first-ever female contestant on Iron Chef.

By turns epic and intimate, Cat writes movingly about how she found courage and redemption in the dark truths of her past and about how she found solace in the kitchen and work, how her passion for cooking helped her to overcome hardships and ultimately find happiness at home and became a wife and a mother to four boys. Above all, this is “a disarmingly candid look at the highs, lows, and true grit of a culinary star” (Kirkus Reviews).

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normally an average girly timbre, had fallen into the Demi Moore range. One day not long after I’d started steroids, my mom walked in on me in the bathroom as I was getting out of the shower. “Oh my gosh, what on earth are you doing?” she asked. “What are you talking about?” “You’re taking steroids. I can tell. And you’ve got to stop.” I told her I would stop, but kept it up until the day I looked in the mirror and spied some facial hair. six After I quit bodybuilding, I found a new gym,

eyes and a lovely smile. New Orleans became our stomping grounds. Especially because after a night on the town we could crash at Hannah’s family’s place. Slidell was a mere thirty minutes from the city, over the I-10 Twin Span bridge, a trip that was always fueled by a peach daiquiri, extra shot, from one of Louisiana’s roadside drive-thru daiquiri shops. We had our favorite gay bars, where I would usually try to pick up a hot little Dixie chick and Hannah would function as my wingman. She

at the University Club served me in good stead. I breezed through the first month with only a few normal episodes of nerves. I didn’t have the world’s greatest knife skills, nor could I easily produce the flawless gin-clear consommé our instructors insisted upon, but I was focused and confident. We were graded hard not just on our cooking but on our appearance. We showed up each morning in full chef regalia—black shoes, checked pants, white jacket, necktie, and nine-inch toque. People with long

interested in experimenting and felt I was a safe bet. One was Alexa, who was sharp tongued and had a crazy head of curly hair. Lorilynn was forever rescuing me from situations with chicks that were probably against my better (i.e., sober) judgment. Once I was invited back to an employee party at Bistro Don Giovanni and I invited Lorilynn to come along. Donna and Giovanni were always generous with the alcohol, and the drinks were flowing. Around 1:00 a.m. Lorilynn was ready to leave, and I was

of it and slammed on her brakes. The driver in the car in front of me slammed on his brakes. I couldn’t stop in time and ran into him. Fender bender. The driver of the second car got out and came over to my window. He was a well-dressed Indian guy in a pressed shirt and nice slacks. Even with a few beers under my belt I clearly saw his expression shift from irritation to wicked delight. He’d come to collect my insurance information, but then he recognized me. He pulled out his phone and started

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