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Chef Cat Cora Chats Catering the CMT Music Awards

Cat Cora will soon hit the kitchen to prepare tasty treats for the CMT Awards after party. (Photo by David Carlson)

The first and only female Iron Chef won't be hitting Kitchen Stadium for her next big meal, but she will certainly be serving some VIPs. Cat Cora is hosting the official CMT Music Awards after party this year, and will no doubt be offering a spread that even the harshest critics would love. We spoke with Cat to get the inside scoop about the how she stays in such great shape (did you know she also has a degree in exercise physiology?) and what the CMT menu will offer. And don't worry, we managed to steal one of the recipes that will be offered so you can host your own all-star viewing party at home! Are you a fan of country music yourself? I grew up in Mississippi, surrounded by country and Southern rock music and continue to love it.

So if you could pick the after party playlist, what would be included? I love all genres of music, so I'd mix it up. Everything from my friend Zac Brown to the Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Kid Rock and Beyonce.

Sounds like a great soundtrack for a gym trip too! What are your favorite ways to stay fit? Exercise is something I do every day, whether it's running, cycling or the elliptical machine.

Keep reading to find out what the stars of country music will be munching on at the after party and get an Iron Chef-worthy recipe to try yourself!

Do you keep the healthfulness of a dish in mind for special events, like the CMT party, or do you consider it time to splurge? One of my skills is to cook foods that might traditionally be high in fat and calories (but that we all crave or splurge on), but to make them guilt free. The key is to make them so delicious no one notices!

How do you do that? Use ingredients like citrus, fresh herbs and good spices. These enhance the taste without added calories or fat.

Can you give us a sneak peek at the menu for the CMT after party? I want to keep it global, exciting and delicious. Guests will be able to try:

  • Leek and Onion Tartlets with Crab and Caviar
  • Toasted Sesame Seed-Crusted Meatballs with Sweet Harissa Yogurt Sauce
  • Greek Tuna Tataki with Sumac Onions, Avocado Tzatziki and Curry Vinaigrette
  • Chocolate Budino—one of my all-time favorites!
  • Frosted Red Velvet Cupcakes

Keep up with the all-star chef at—word on the street is that she has a new TV show debuting on OWN later this year! Cat was kind enough to share her Avocado Tzatziki recipe for FITNESS readers. It's packed with healthy fats and is a perfect dip or sandwich topper for your awards show viewing party!

Avocado Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced

Stir together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Add grated cucumber and diced avocado and mix well. Refrigerate for one hour (or more) before serving. The CMT Awards air one week from today, on Wednesday, June 8 at 8/7 p.m. Central. You can still vote for the winners at!