The Festival of the Desert, the inaugural music and arts festival in Coachella Valley (no, not that Coachella music festival), celebrates the fine arts, including opera, classical music, dance, theater, and the culinary arts, with guests like Renée Fleming and the Paris Opera’s music director Phillippe Jordan. Iron Chef Cat Cora was added as the festival’s culinary director, and she will prepare the feast for the evening gala on March 18. The Daily Meal interviewed chef Cora about her upcoming menu at Festival of the Desert, as well as her charitable contributions through Chefs for Humanity.
What type of food are you planning on serving at the festival?
I am feeling the desert, so I really want to go Latin-inspired for one of the events and more Mediterranean for the other. Like musicians, you feel food in your soul, so I go with what I feel.
Are you planning on creating the menu in coordination with the music for the evening?
I am coordinating the food according to my heart and soul. The sensuality of food is organic, and if you feel it authentically the music will be beautifully connected, and vice versa.
For you, how do the fine arts relate to cooking?
The arts are cooking, music, and creating. It is all connected because it comes from our soul and our artistic creativity. Is there anything more soulful and organic than that? Nothing. It is all of the senses in one symphony.
What can you tell me about Chefs for Humanity?
I founded CFH when the tsunami hit Asia 10 years ago. Since then, CFH has worked to be a part of nutrition education in America, to eradicate hunger in all parts of the world, and to provide emergency hunger relief in crises around the globe. We have worked closely with Michelle Obama in her Let’s Move and Chefs Move to Schools programs. And our partners, such as the International American Red Cross, World Food Program, and others, have given us the opportunity to give back.
Will there be a Chefs for Humanity fundraiser at the festival?
We are hoping we will grow my charity into the festival. I very much hope that. We need all of you out there to cheer us on and support us in our efforts to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in the world.