Go Away With … Cat Cora

Cat Cora Named 2013 Resident Mom

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
December 24, 2013

Restaurateur, cookbook author and chef Cat Cora holds the distinction of being the first female Iron Chef. The television personality (“Around the World in 80 Plates”) is based out of Santa Barbara, Calif., where she lives with her wife and children. She was recently selected as the Resident Mom of the Year by Residence Inn by Marriott.

“Anytime I get recognition as a mom, it makes me so happy and proud,” says Cora, 46. “Family travel has always been so important to us … and the brand has been a family favorite of ours for years.” Fans may follow her on Twitter.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. Greece is definitely my top vacation destination. The islands, people and food are some of my favorite in the world.

Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?

A. I would tell them to visit Athens first and go to the many historical sites — Acropolis and Acropolis Museum, Olympic Stadium and the many other incredible sites spread throughout the city. Then I recommend heading out to the islands, where you can visit the beaches, swim in the sea, eat the incredible food, drink the great wines and mingle with the locals over a local ouzo, Greek coffee or frappe. Then eat some more! I have to say, the shopping is also amazing.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. I really recommend Chang Mai in Thailand. I love this city and the food and the people are the kindest. A visit there can be a very spiritual experience as well.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. Over the years, I’ve learned how to pack well, stay organized and be confident in almost any place I arrive. I’ve also learned how to adapt quickly and keep my balance on the road.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Living in California, we love to camp at El Capitan, Ojai, which is close by, or go to Paso Robles to water ski. And my family loves to head down the coast to Malibu or Santa Monica for a really quick getaway.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. It’s hard to pick just five! Some of my favorite travel destinations are Venice, Singapore, Hong Kong, Santorini and Mumbai.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. There are so many places on my list, but Brazil, (the continent of) Africa and Australia are definitely near the top.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. My family and I love Residence Inn by Marriott hotels when we travel with the kids. We can rely on them to always have a full kitchen, lots of space to spread out, free hot breakfast and a great gym so we can keep up with our routines on the road. It has everything we need for comfort and they are usually located in good areas of each city.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. I have to have my Beats (headphones) for entertainment, my cashmere wrap to keep warm on flights and my Louis Vuitton carry-on bag to hold everything. My iPad, phone and Mophie charger are also must-haves when traveling to stay connected with my family.

Q. What would be your dream/fantasy trip?

A. I would absolutely love to go on an African safari or head to Brazil for the World Cup next year with my kids!

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. I must say, I love me some BBQ Popchips.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A. As a chef, I tend to first look into where to eat in the destination, then focus on where to sleep and then finally look into where to visit!

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. I truly can’t recall a bad vacation, as I like to make lemonade out of lemons.

© 2013 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (21)

  1. Ventura County says:

  2. Family Travel Forum says:

  3. Rich says:

    I normally don’t take my time addressing this rubbish but occasionally I do.

    Cat Cora specifically mentions that on her must travel items she has to have her Louis Vuitton carry-on bag. She could just as well have said an ample, well-organized carry-on bag.

    She thinks that mention of a $4K or so carry on bag adds a “touch of class” to her travels.

    As a rather well-traveled person myself, what she really does is expose herself to being just an ordinary garden variety snob.

    Not your fault, you are just describing the interview.

    Happy New Year!

    • Anna Liesen says:

      That’s an odd comment Rich. Why do you care how she spends her money? As long as she’s not asking me to pay for it, I don’t care what purse she carries. A $4,000 purse to her is probably like a $100 purse to me. Just my opinion. I liked the article a lot. She was always one of my faves on the Food Network.

  4. ritgar says:

    Nice article, but obviously your are not familiar with Iron Chef. Alex Guarnashelli has been the second female Iron Chef since last year. I just loved Cat Cora & miss her since Food Network threw her under the bus after her drunk driving arrest. Like their actions with Paula Deen, they are not afraid to abandon those who made them.

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      I called her the first female Iron Chef, as you can see right here in the first sentence of my column. 🙂 Happy new year!

      • ritgar says:

        My Chicago Tribune 1/5/2014 article actually says “..first (and so far only)” – I have it right in front of me!! Very interesting – they must have not corrected my edition.

  5. ritgar says:

    Wow – so I told you the published Chicago Tribune article was different from what you have above – and you deleted my comments!! Classy – really classy.

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      What? It should be up there, along with my comment back to you. I don’t delete comments (except for spam, which I don’t consider to be comments). I enjoy hearing what people have to say.

      • ritgar says:

        Thanks for your response – When I look at the site I am just seeing 2 new comments & not mine – sorry. Thanks much. Keep up the great articles.

  6. Steve Richards says:

    You have some odd people reading your column, Ms. Kim. 🙂 I hope you do an interview with Giada De Laurentiis.

  7. travelBIGO says:

  8. Jae-Ha Kim says:

    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment. I love it! 🙂 And let’s all play nice, OK?

  9. Bridgette says:

    I am not sure when you wrote the Celebrity Traveler Cat Cora article that appeared in the Hartford Courant Jan 5 2014 but the first line is NOT accurate. “Restaurateur,cookbook author and chef Cat Cora holds the distinction of being the first (an so far only) female Iron Chef. Alex Guernaschelli was made an Iron Chef in 2012. Alex is a woman and an Iron Chef. PLEASE get your facts straight before putting them in the first line of an article. Aren’t journalists supposed to check their facts before publishing????

  10. Pat Rothman says:

    lol! THIS IS HYSTERICAL! People love nothing more than when someone makes a mistake so that they can point their fingers and feel superior. But there’s nothing better than when some sanctimonious person (I’m talking to you Bridgette!) makes a mistake while they’re tsk tsking. I couldn’t spell Guarnaschelli if you paid me! But I’m also not mouthing off about how people should do their jobs and God forbid if an error ever gets inserted into an article. Truly, Bridgette, PLEASE get your facts straight before writing anyone else. PLEASE!

  11. Mike says:

    LULZ on this whole comment section! Well done, everyone.

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