Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Chef’s Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness” as Want to Read:
Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Chef’s Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  430 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Remarkably candid, compulsively readable, 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 just a girl from Jackson, Mississippi, where days were slow and every meal was made from scratch. Her passion for the kitchen started in
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Scribner
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cooking as Fast as I Can, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Cooking as Fast as I Can

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Rebecca Foster
(3.5) Despite her various Food Network appearances and restaurants, I had never heard of Cat Cora. I don’t generally read ghostwritten celebrity autobiographies, but I really enjoyed this. A sharp, sassy voice comes through as Cora narrates her Mississippi upbringing in a half-Greek adoptive family and the challenges of being gay in the conservative South. The highlights for me were Cora’s two stages (apprenticeships) in France and her menu development for restaurants from upstate New York to th ...more
Brianne Sperber
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Of all the chefs I watched on television growing up, Cat Cora was always a bit of a mystery to me. She didn't prepare meals for her husband as Ina Garten did, nor did she cook alongside her sons like Paula Deen. Compared to her Food Network contemporaries, her life seemed a bit more private and less of an act. Cora's unlikely path to celebrity chef and bittersweet coming of age story is one all too many women can relate to and one I am grateful she shared with us. Her memoir deserves to be place ...more
So...I'm not a foodie in any way, shape, or form. I'd never heard of Cat Cora prior to reading this book and had to look up Iron Chef to figure out exactly what it meant that she'd been an Iron Chef. Still, I like food memoirs and queer memoirs and so on, so on paper (pun totally intended) this works well for me.

There's a reason, though, that I have a shelf called 'fame first, book second': celebrity memoirs (and occasionally fiction) are a whole different ballgame. I've read some legitimately g
Jill Title
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoirs
2.5-2.75? Not bad. It was entertaining and interesting, but it felt a little self aggrandizing at times with a lot of name dropping and what not, and she glossed over a lot of really deep issues making it seem as though she hasn't quite worked them out yet, which is fine of course, we're all works in progress, but it was maybe a little uncomfortable. Real life is so messy, I guess maybe I'm just looking for something a little tidier in my reading? Not totally sure. Something about it just felt a ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I stuck with this book. I originally bought it to preview for my AP Language class but quickly discovered that it was ghostwritten, and that didn't work for my assignment. Anyway, there's a slow part near the beginning that almost made me put it down but I kept going because I want to send it to my sister, and it did indeed get better. What I liked most about this book was Cat Cora's emphasis that success and fame is not linear, that there are ups and downs, that reality TV is so fake a ...more
Taryn Pierson
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've long been intrigued by Cat Cora. She always seemed sassy and fun whenever I saw her on Iron Chef America, super petite but packing tons of energy. When I saw she had written a memoir, I knew hers was a life I wanted to know more about.

And what a life she has led so far. I got winded just reading about it—all the cross-country flights for TV appearances, countless restaurant openings, stints in culinary school and internships abroad. Cora has worked unbelievably hard to become one of the bes
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Renowned chef Cat Cora’s candid memoir on Southern life, Greek heritage, same sex marriage, and the meals that have shaped her memories.

The book takes us from her childhood in Jackson, Mississippi to her current status as a successful chef and television personality.
Although she skirts around the topic, I would have liked to have known more of the specifics of her challenges as a female chef in a male dominated career. An open and honest story of a Chef Cora's life experience and how she got to
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Her story was interesting. The book itself could have used a lot more editing though. She didn't seem to have a focus and would start and stop stories suddenly. The ending in particular felt unfinished. But still, it was interesting to read about her life.
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-real-life
I always enjoy Cat Cora when I see her on the Food Network. She seems to be genuine, direct, and personable. Those same attributes come through in her memoir. I enjoyed reading more about who she is as a person, what her story has been thus far, and where she has struggled.

One sentiment that I found particularly relevant to my own thinking about how life twists and turns: "I was well into my thirties now, grateful for all of the opportunities I'd had and proud of my accomplishments, but that min
Stacey Cornelius
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
The story raced along as fast as it could as well, to this reader feeling more like a laundry list of events than a memoir. It's interesting, up to a point, but perhaps best suited for fans. There are struggles in her life, serious struggles, but the pace of the book seems to rush past them. I would have preferred something with more depth than breadth.
Cook Memorial Public Library
A 2016 staff favorite recommended by Cyndi.

Check our catalog:
Nicole Marble
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
An intimate look at a womans journey to be a chef.
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thorougly enjoyed this book, a fantastic memoir. Great storytelling about life as a chef, lesbian and mother.
Savannah Jane
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I chose to read Cat Cora's memoir mainly because I hadn't yet formed an opinion on her which was the perfect basis for eliminating basis upon reading a book. Despite my affinity for The Food Network, I never caught Cora on a show. About as much as I knew about her--her height, her hair color, and her cooking style--I could learn on her Wikipedia page. The more intimate details about her--her childhood, her education, her relationships--were mere questions in my mind before reading her memoir, Co ...more
Jennifer Kirkey
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Remarkably candid, compulsively readable, 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 just 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 incorp ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
There is so much about Cat Cora's memoir that grabbed me. It's sass, its vivid descriptions of her southern childhood and her determination to make it in the hard-driving world of celebrity cooks. You can see her boldness, her grit early on and when she decides to become a chef she brings it right with her. She lived hard and fast and she liked it that way (and it was fun to read) and yet, it got tricky. Alcohol got in her way (and maybe, still does) as does the impact of being sexually abused b ...more
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Iron Chef, mother, wife, and friend – while Cat Cora may be all of these, she has spent most of her life defying labels. Her gritty and candid memoir hops from Mississippi to California to France, all the while unearthing the things—and food—closest to her heart.

Cora is a true Southern girl, complete with a slight twang and penchant for no-nonsense axioms. After a horrifying incident when she was six years old, Cora grapples with feelings of betrayal, loneliness, and shame until she realizes “th
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Cat Cora has always struck me as sassy and slightly larger than life. As a fellow southerner and feminine feminist I find her beguiling and her autobiography is one of the most refreshingly honest portrayals that I have ever read. Her struggles and triumphs are told with candor and you can hear her voice loud and clear in the telling of her story. From beginning to end Cat Cora is genuine and her blend of brashness and heart are super endearing. I hope she and her family thrive and that all of t ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Raw, beautiful, unapologetic & passionate. Sweet, salty & delicious! Loved this book.
I won a copy from a Goodreads Giveaway.

I remember when the only reality show on Food Network was Iron Chef. Oh, how times have changed.

I remember Cat Cora from the show because she was the only female Iron Chef to ever win the competition. I did not know anything about her but I could tell, just from watching her, she was a no nonsense, straight forward, take charge attitude person. In other words, she kind of scared me, but in a good way.

Her memoir is short and brief but no less an eye opener,
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it
I stumbled upon this book at the library. There were two things about the book jacket that drew me in - one, that Cat Cora is a chef and I tend to really like chefs' memoirs; two, the 'about the author' section mentioned that she lives in California with her wife. So a queer chef memoir is totally my speed.
This book was ghostwritten, which is fine, maybe even preferable. If someone isn't a good writer but has a compelling story, I'd much rather read that story as written by someone who knows wh
Aug 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Cat Cora’s memoir is brutally forthright. I enjoyed learning about her as the chances of us becoming besties is slim to none so this was my shot at an up close and personal glimpse into the daughter, woman, chef, wife, mother.

Cat takes you through her childhood in Mississippi through her current days in lovely Santa Barbara California. Reflecting on her early years in the kitchen, Iron Chef to current status we are privy to her well-earned and deserved accomplishments. No doubt her admitted stub
Arja Salafranca
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Cooking as Fast as I Can is Cat Cora’s whirlwind autobiography. It takes in her childhood in the South, and her struggle to make it as a chef. From attending the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and apprenticing under Michelin star chefs in France to running a number of restaurants and becoming the first-ever female Iron Chef and travelling from coast to coast to make it in her career, it’s been quite a life and an adventure, it seems. In addition she throws a light on her sometimes roc ...more
This book checked the box for the "Read a food memoir" category in the 2016 Book Riot Read Harder challenge. However, I had it on my "to read" list prior to embarking on the challenge. While I've enjoyed watching Cat Cora on various cooking shows, I didn't know much about her or her upbringing aside from the fact that she was a southern chef with Greek roots and thought it'd be interesting to learn more about the first-ever female Iron Chef. The memoir is a raw, unflinching look at Cora's life a ...more
Maria Elmvang
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I knew nothing about Cat Cora prior to picking up this book. However, I've long been interested in chef's memoirs, so I knew I wanted to read it all the same.

As many memoirs it was a bit slow to start, but after about 50 pages, it quickly made up for it and I found it difficult to put down. Cat's journey from cooking at home with her grandmother to being the first female Iron Chef and opening her own restaurants was absolutely fascinating, and certainly made me try my hand at co
Liz Simmons
Sep 26, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a fast, easy and compelling read, although I felt like the details were sparse at times. Cat Cora is the first woman to win Iron Chef. This book describes her life and how she made it to become an incredibly successful chef. I actually hadn't even heard of her before picking up this book. It's gotten great reviews from lots of big shots in the culinary world. The thing that stuck out to me the most in this book is the way that being sexually abused as a child impacted her life.

The autho
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
*I received a copy of this book through Netgallery from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

Cat Cora's memoir is remarkably candid and heart-felt. Having known very little about her previously, I enjoyed learning not only about her years as an Iron Chef and making it in the world of celebrity chef culture but also about how her life has changed from growing up in Mississippi to her present day life as a California mother/wife/chef. Readers who enjoy culinary memoirs might be
I would like to thank Scribner and NetGalley for providing me with an electronic copy to review. Cooking as Fast as I Can is a memoir by Cat Cora, from her childhood in Jackson, Mississippi to her current status as a successful chef and television personality. I wanted to know more about her challenges as a female chef in a male dominated career, as she only briefly touched upon the subject. Cat spent a lot of time detailing her relationships and discovering her sexuality, as this part of her li ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking-food
Cat Cora grew up in Mississippi enjoying Southern and Greek food since her father's family was Greek. It was nothing unique to her to eat grits with feta cheese. Her parents were both hard-working and loving and taught Cat that working hard is how you'll get far in life. In this memoir you see how Cat worked hard to overcome some serious challenges - she was molested by a family friend, she was gay in time when it was still illegal in her home state, and once she knew she wanted to cook she stru ...more
Cat Cora's voice is clear as a bell, and her story completely engaging. Food drifts in and around the events of her life, from her adoption into a Greek American to her family life with her sons and wife, always there but not distracting from the events that shaped her path.

Cora tells the difficult stories of abuse in childhood at the hands of a son of a family friend, to her struggle with her sexuality in the deep south, to her struggle against alcoholism in such an uncompromising manner as to
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home
  • She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood
  • Science Fair Season: Twelve Kids, a Robot Named Scorch . . . and What It Takes to Win
  • Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship
  • Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender
  • Recipes for a Beautiful Life: A Memoir in Stories
  • The Singular Pilgrim: Travels on Sacred Ground
  • Muffins and Mayhem: Recipes for a Happy (if Disorderly) Life
  • Best Food Writing 2015
  • Hillbilly Gothic: A Memoir of Madness and Motherhood
  • The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits
  • Recipes for Disaster: A Memoir
  • Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time
  • This Victorian Life: Modern Adventures in Nineteenth-Century Culture, Cooking, Fashion, and Technology
  • Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City
  • Eating Appalachia: Rediscovering Regional American Flavors
  • My Pantry: Homemade Ingredients That Make Simple Meals Your Own
  • Under This Beautiful Dome: A Senator, A Journalist, and the Politics of Gay Love in America
Born Catherine Ann Cora.
Both on-and off-screen, Chef Cat Cora has made a lasting impression on the culinary community. In 2005, Cora was the first and only female Iron Chef on Food Network's Iron Chef America. The following year she was named Executive Chef of Bon Apptit along with their Teacher of the Year Award.

In 2008, Cora launched CCQ (Cat Coras Que) at Macys new Signature Kitchen restaurant

More about Cat Cora...

Share This Book