Celebrity chef Cat Cora was cited in June for driving under the influence after she caused a minor traffic accident on upper State Street in Santa Barbara, California, a wealthy haven for celebrities and artists. Her arraignment is scheduled for July 26.
Catherine “Cat” Cora is best known for her featured role as an “Iron Chef” on Iron Chef America and as co-host of Around the World in 80 Plates on Bravo, an American reality competition show. Cora has also authored three cooking books.
Based on information gleaned from the Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood said Cora rear-ended another vehicle at the intersection of State and La Cumbre streets.
The car in front of her, a 2001 BMW 325i, had stopped at the crosswalk limit line when Cora, in a 2007 Chevy Tahoe, bumped it from behind at a low speed. The BMW’s male driver told responding officers he thought Cora was intoxicated. No one was hurt in the accident.
Harwood said officers on the scene conducted field sobriety tests and determined Cora, 45, showed signs of inebriation. She said she had consumed three bottles of beer and was on her way home. Cora also told officers that she and her partner had been arguing earlier in the evening.
Cora provided two breath samples at the scene which registered her blood alcohol level at 0.20 and 0.19 — well over twice the legal limit of .08 — and a blood sample taken soon after at nearby Goleta Valley Hospital registered a BAC of 0.19. Harwood said Cora was transported to the Sobering Center on East Haley Street.
Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley said Cora is charged with one DUI count and one count of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
Through her publicist, Cat Cora issued this statement: “I deeply regret my decision to drive that evening after my designated driver became unavailable. I learned a very important lesson from this experience and take full accountability for my actions. This will never happen again.”
In April 2011, Cora opened a new bar and restaurant at San Francisco International Airport, and a Cat Cora’s Kitchen at the Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Cat Cora also operates Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort at The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. Cora is also Executive Chef for Bon Appétit magazine and a UNICEF spokesperson.
In 2007, she published “Cooking From The Hip: Fast, Easy, Phenomenal Meals”, followed by “Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist: Fresh Takes on Favorite Dishes” in 2010.