She wears many hats – author, TV star, restaurateur, and above all, chef. Always working on something new and exciting, you’d figure Cat Cora would be glad for nine lives just to keep up with the busy schedule.
Here in town from 15 – 20 June to lend her personal touch to the new 5-course seafood dinner at the Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora, we catch up with the legend herself to find out what’s cooking.
1. Hey Chef, what projects have kept you busy since the last time you were in Singapore?
I’ve been gearing up for the launch of my memoir “Cooking as Fast as I Can”, set to be released in September, as well as overseeing the construction of another airport restaurant, this time in Atlanta. I also have some exciting upcoming TV projects that are still under wraps!
2. What is your current food obsession?
Sea urchin! I just can’t get enough of it. I am fortunate enough to live in Santa Barbara, California, which is renowned for its delicious sea urchin.
3. What were your aspirations for Ocean Restaurant? And in the past year, has expectations been met?
I wanted to create a dining experience with a focus on amazing and sustainable food. Chef Eng Tong and the Ocean staff have met my vision, and taken it beyond my wildest imagination. Dining here truly is a magical experience, and I am proud to be a part of it.
4. Alright, here’s a tricky one. Rank your top three favourite dishes from the restaurant.
That’s a very tough question! But if I had to, I’d make sure to include the Sous Vide Salmon, Seared Scallop and Wagyu beef dishes. However, I love all of the dishes so it is very hard for me to choose!
5. World Oceans Day was on 8 June, did it hold any significance for you?
I love the ocean; in fact, my home is only five minutes away from the beach. So World Oceans Day took on more significance as there’s been an oil spill there. I plan on joining the clean-up efforts because the ocean is such a vital part of my life and community.
6. Speaking of World Oceans Day, we can’t leave out sustainable seafood. How far has this reached out in the US? And what is your opinion on Singapore’s present level of awareness and action?
I think sustainability is becoming more popular in the US. As chefs, it’s our duty to think responsibly, if possible, when creating dishes, and I love challenging myself to find new ways to incorporate sustainability in everything that I do. I am so glad that Singapore is focusing on bringing awareness to this important issue, and that Ocean Restaurant can be a part of this worldwide shift towards sustainability.
7. Being a chef is definitely hard work but what do you love most about your job?
As a food lover first and a chef second, I’m grateful that my job allows me to do what I love – trying out new food, new flavours, and challenging my palate. One of my favorite things to do is purchase an ingredient I am unfamiliar with and whip up a dish the puts me out of my comfort zone.