Battle Celebrity Chef: Cat Cora v. Rachael Ray

One is a bona fide chef, while the other is a self-described cook. One has made headlines because of her unique method of getting pregnant; the other appears on the pages of the supermarket rags because she is apparently about to get a divorce once a week. One is friends with that creepy "chairman" dude on Iron Chef America, the other is pals with Oprah. Is being BFFs with the talk shows' Jesus enough to win this war? Let's see in another episode of Battle Celebrity Chef as Cat Cora takes on Rachael Ray.

The Matchup:

Cat Cora (The Southern Firecracker): One thing is for sure, Cora is a cornucopia of classically trained disciplines. She has a BS in biology from Southern Miss and then, because being a fancy-pants scientist wasn't enough, decided to head to the CIA and get her culinary degree. The only female Iron Chef in the history of the show, she prefers to stick with one TV arena instead of multi-tasking on many channels. Also, if you've never heard the story about how she and her wife decided to have kids, go read the double whammy in vitro taleright now.

Rachael Ray (The World Icon of Unnecessary Food Abbreviations): Appearing on TV sets in millions of homes everyday, she is about as famous as a Food Network star can be. Starting as a cheap-eats-traveler on $40 A Day (I never understood how that show really worked, since it looked like she always left about $1.78 for a tip no matter what the bill was), it was really 30 Minute Meals that took her to the top. Oprah pushed her into the stratosphere by giving Rach her own syndicated talker. Not bad for someone who has no formal chef training and just learned everything from trial-and-error cooking.

The Battle:

It would seem that Rachael Ray would win hands down, but Cora has plenty of fight in her. After the clock hits zero on Iron Chef America, she takes a shot of ouzo with her cooking team. That could be enough of a knockout blow right there. Ray hits back with a ton of mega-hit cookbooks but is hampered by that awful-sounding smoker's-cough voice. It really seems that anything Ray can do, Cora can do better (if she was inclined to be on every channel on TV at one time). This goes for both of their slightly disturbing FHM photo shoots -- Cora's just seems a little less cringe-inducing.

The Winner: Cat Cora

I realize that our own Katharine Shilcutt chilled with Ray at a conference in town recently and said she was super-nice. I also realize that our own Craig Hlavaty was inches from Rach at SWSX, but their celebrity hobnobbing isn't enough to sway this battle. I'll take the blonde Iron Chef sensation on this day.

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