A Cat Cora “Catfight!”
My wife Alex and I have been to Alinea, a Michelin 3-star restaurant in Chicago that is the greatest dining experience we’ve ever had. More on that in a moment, but first, the restaurant’s co-owner felt the need to post a story about an altercation between restaurant staff and Chef Cat Cora – and it’s a “cat” fight for sure!
Welcome To Alinea – And Chef Grant Achatz!
Chef Grant Achatz is considered one of the world’s greatest Chefs, and a meal at his restaurant in Chicago, Alinea, is a magical adventure…but it was anything but that for Chef Cat Cora, who went public with her treatment at the restaurant…and the restaurant fired back!
Nick Kokonas is the Co-Owner of Alinea, along with other Achatz restaurants, and last weekend there was a confrontation at Alinea between Chef Cora and the restaurant’s staff! Kokonas posted an article on the social media site “Medium” titled “Into The Litter Box”, which leads with this line:
“If you’re Cat Cora & dead wrong, best not to post to Instagram”
Here is part of what Kokonas wrote about the incident:
“Cat Cora of Iron Chef fame (I love the original Japanese version) intentionally arrived 24 hours and 15 minutes late to a booking at Alinea, proceeded to create a scene, accuse our staff of sexism, invoked a “chef’s code” whereby we were expected to ‘roll a table into the kitchen’ for her, and then left with “fuck you, fuck Grant, fuck Alinea” while flipping off one of our kindest veteran servers who tried mightily to apologize even though the situation was not his fault. When Grant would not leave the kitchen to speak with her she threatened to elevate the incident to social media and her “new ABC show”. And later in the evening she did just that.”
Yes, Cora posted these since-deleted comments to Instagram:
What is really shocking here is that Cora tagged some of the world’s greatest Chefs, dragging them into this controversy. That infuriated Kokonas, who then lays out the ENTIRE timeline for Chef Cora’s reservation controversy…they keep meticulous records of all transactions – and it appears that Cora’s Assistant booked Friday night by mistake, then tried to change it to Saturday…the restaurant was helpful actually and slotted her in at 9p that night…but first, he explains what the restaurant staff did when Cora failed to show up at her scheduled Friday reservation:
“Friday, March 1st evening — Cat Cora did not show for her booking — we reached out and offered the reschedule to Saturday at 9:00 PM in the Salon. Veronica Van Sant confirmed this change and we refunded the difference.”
He then explains what he did next – an obvious professional courtesy to a fellow Chef:
“I called Veronica and we spoke about the following: I asked for confirmation to cancel and refund the booking. I stated that if Cat arrived at 5:00 PM we would NOT have a table for her. Veronica said something along the lines of “Well I am worried they are going to show up because I tried calling and they won’t answer. They are in Chicago and I am not. Grant knows her — can’t he just reach out and let her know? I responded that I can certainly ask Chef Achatz however we do not have any contact information for Cat and that I doubted Chef would be able to reach out.”
So, Cora and her entourage just showed up at 5p Saturday expecting to be seated – and were told that they had no reservation at that time and the restaurant couldn’t accommodate them. She threw a fit!
She demanded to see the Chef, who was in the kitchen serving the other diners, and when he wouldn’t come out she screamed at the staff and stormed out – flipping them off! And Kokonas captured it and shared it!
Later she posted those comments to Instagram – since deleted but Kokonas saved them and shared them in his article – WOW!
What is shocking is that Cora would tag some of America’s greatest Chefs, in an apparent attempt to shame Chef Achetz and Alinea.
I work in the entertainment industry and have seen “entitled” people act out and throw tantrums when they don’t get their way, and don’t feel they have to follow the same rules as everyone else.
Chef Cora still insists the restaurant got the reservations song, but I’ve used their “Tock” system and you are billed immediately and an email confirms your reservation; so if they “mistakenly” had it on Friday, why didn’t they notice?
I say “Bravo” to Kokonas for fighting back against Cora’s social media smear – and he shares ALL of the restaurant’s interaction with Cora and her team in order to show they did nothing wrong.
Read the entire article here at the website Medium:
As I mentioned, Alex and I have been to Alinea at least a half dozen times, and their other restaurants as well…they are ALWAYS professional, polite, and excited about sharing incredible food like this!
You can see more of this magical food adventure by clicking on my story here:
Let me know what you think of this “Cat” fight!
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What a shame. We were lucky enough to be paired with Chef Achatz at a SOBE F&W event a few weeks ago and he could not have been more gracious.
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Kelly, the way the story reads, it seems that Chef Cora was acting completely inappropriately , acting as if she was entitled to a table whenever she decided to drop in…so happy that he was great to work with and thanks so much for the comment!
Chefs can be monsters in the kitchen, and bitchy outside of it. All part of the ‘game’, I suspect. 🙂
Best wishes, Pete.
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Yes Pete, she showed very poor form with her demands and entitlement…no different than anyone else but still classless
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