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Iron Chef Cat Cora launches internship program to empower aspiring female chefs

World-renowned chef Cat Cora launched a special and very personal internship program to give back and help women succeed in the culinary arts.

Cora, a Santa Barbara resident, recently launched her Women’s Empowerment Culinary Internship Program.

Every year, Cora will host a student who is starting culinary school at her home for a week.

Ashley Foster was the first person chosen for the internship.

Cora met Foster at an event in San Francisco and was inspired by the young woman.

“She reminded me so much of myself as a young up-and-coming chef, aspiring to do so many things in the world,” Cora said.

Cora made history in 2005 when became the first-ever female Iron Chef on Food Network’s hit show Iron Chef America. She has shattered many glass ceilings in the historically male culinary industry.

Cora said her mentor, the famous chef Julia Child inspired her to give back. Cora said Child always told her to, “no matter what, pay it forward.”

During her week-long internship, Foster started each day with meditation which Cora believes is important to stay grounded while juggling a busy career.

Foster sat through business meetings and strategy sessions while Cora and her wife, Nicole Ehrlich who is the CEO of Cat Cora Inc., managed Cora’s growing empire.

Foster also got what’s called a “front and back of house” experience at Cora’s restaurant Mesa Burger working with Executive Sous Chef Aimee Dimase and General Manager Pixie Green.

“It’s been so eye opening for the things I could possibly accomplish and having a mentor at that caliber to help me get to where I want ,” said Foster.

Cora said she believes it’s important to reach out to younger generations of women.

“I think it’s important to empower other women to know their worth and to go after their dreams and goals,” Cora said.

To learn more about Cora’s internship, click here.

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