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Cat Cora - Traveling with a Chef (Part 1 of 3)

Food Network star, Cat Cora, on the difference between travelers and tourists

The first and only female Iron Chef is also a cookbook author, philanthropist, mother, and spends nearly 300 days a year on the road. Cat's career has taken her from her hometown in Jackson, Mississippi, to Europe, Central America, Asia and everywhere in between.

Cat Cora: Iron Chef & World TravelerCat Cora: Iron Chef & World TravelerAs a frequent traveler, Cat has become accustomed to a fast paced lifestyle that's both healthy and fun. We recently caught up with Cat at her home in San Francisco. If you've ever wondered what it's like to travel with a chef, read on.

GoGirlfriend: What makes a place a great?

Cat Cora: You have to have an open mind, be flexible and learn to go with the flow, especially when you're traveling in different countries and cultures. Don't set yourself up with preconceived notions and expectations. Sometimes it's difficult to do that, but if you can do it you're more likely to discover things and have a unique experience.

I always tell people to start out by going where the locals go. That's the only way you'll find the best food. In Nicaragua they're very well known for their spiny lobster, so I want to go where locals go to get it.

Sometimes when I travel I want to go in and know what's going on right away. But the more I travel, the more I learn to not sweat the small stuff.

GoGirlfriend: How do you switch from being a tourist to a traveler?

Cat Cora: It really has to do with how mobile you are, how much you travel. A traveler becomes accustomed to preparing ahead of time, of going where the locals go. Tourists generally want to go see the sites.

I've been a tourist and I've been a traveler and can be both at times. If I'm going to Costa Rica for the first time, I want to lie on the beach and relax. I'm going to Egypt in 2008 and I'll definitely want to see the pyramids and do the touristy thing. The more seasoned you are in your traveling, you can certainly be a traveling tourist.

Are you a traveler or a tourist? Share your travel secrets with us at GoGirlfriend!

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