Cat Cora
Cooking As Fast As I Can is renowned chef Cat Cora’s no-holds-barred memoir on Southern life, Greek heritage, same sex marriage, and the meals that have shaped her memories. Before she became a celebrated chef, Cathy Cora was a girl from Jackson, Mississippi, where days were slow and every meal was made from scratch. Her passion for the kitchen started in her home, where she spent her days internalizing the dishes that would form the cornerstone of her cooking philosophy incorporating her Greek heritage and Southern upbringing—from crispy fried chicken and honey-drenched biscuits to spanakopita. But outside the kitchen, Cora’s life was volatile. Cooking As Fast As I Can chronicles the difficulties and triumphs Cora experienced on the path to becoming a chef. She 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. “A disarmingly candid look at the highs, lows, and true grit of a culinary star,” our reviewer writes.


KIRKUS REVIEW

From the acclaimed first female Iron Chef, a heartfelt memoir of a loving family, a passion for food, and the challenges of career and personal life.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Cora blazed a trail for women in a field dominated by men, joining a cadre of celebrity chefs with cookbooks, TV shows, and food and cookware brands. The author describes an idyllic childhood in Jackson, Mississippi, building forts with her brothers in the “fairy-tale piney woods” behind their house. Cora, whose grandfather owned a restaurant, comes by her love of cooking naturally. From “Grandmom Alma,” who came to take care of the family while Cora’s mother was away getting her doctorate, Cora learned to make the creamiest of cheesecakes. Her parents had a passion for food and entertaining, serving such dishes as her father’s Greek kota kapama. This near-perfect childhood was marred when a son of family friends sexually abused her. The abuse stopped when her parents found out, but it was years before they acknowledged the deep trauma it caused, thinking she was young and would get over it. Instead, she was haunted by guilt and shame well into her adult life. Cora draws readers into her world with frank, conversational writing. What the prose lacks in style is overcome by the strength of her story. She recounts her family’s support but also their fears for her when she came out as a lesbian in the conservative South. Driven and ambitious, she went from culinary school to apprenticeships at Michelin-starred restaurants in France and from sous and executive chef positions in increasingly prestigious restaurants to a Food Network regular. Career demands took a toll on her personal life. Along with success came some heartache, until she found a balance with her spouse and their four sons, realizing at last that she didn’t have to be perfect.

A disarmingly candid look at the highs, lows, and true grit of a culinary star.


Recent Interviews

Katey Sagal

author of GRACE NOTES

April 10, 2017
GRACE NOTES by Katey Sagal In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >

Emma Donoghue

author of THE LOTTERYS PLUS ONE

April 3, 2017
THE LOTTERYS PLUS ONE by Emma Donoghue In Emma Donoghue’s new middle-grade novel, The Lotterys Plus One, Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed "good girl" of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to live with them. And not just any grandfather; the long dormant "Grumps," who fell out with his son so long ago that he hasn't been part of any of their lives. Suddenly, everything changes. Sumac has to give up her room to make the newcomer feel at home. She tries to be nice, but prickly Grumps's clearly disapproves of how the Lotterys live: whole grains, strange vegetables, rescue pets, a multicultural household....He's worse than just tough to get along with—Grumps has got to go! But can Sumac help him find a home where he belongs? “Full of clever names and wordplay, this engaging tale is moving without veering into sentimentality,” our critic writes in a starred review. “For all the Lotterys’ apparent eccentricity, the novel delves into universal themes of family relationships that will resonate with readers from all backgrounds.” View video >