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L’affaire Cat Cora may be more morally complicated than it appears
I’m going to launch an investigative podcast about what really happened with Cat Cora at Alinea
Seems like the timeline is:
1. CC asst requests Sat table
2. Alinea offers Fri 5p table
3. CC asst accepts
4. (?? CC told she has Sat 5p res)
5. CC no-shows Fri
6. Alinea offers Sat 9p rebook
7. CC asst says no
8. CC uncontactable
9. CC shows for 5p Sat
The key questions are:
- Did Alinea, at (2), intentionally offer an alternate evening, or did they misread the request?
- Did CC asst, at (3), realize she was accepting a Friday table, or did she misread the Tock confirmation?
Folks I’m in a car in bumper-to-bumper traffic driving to Brooklyn from New Jersey I’ve got ALL NIGHT for this
Based on CC’s behavior at (10) it seems like she was told by asst (and thus genuinely believed) she had a 5pm Sat res. Which implies that asst at (3) didn’t realize she was accepting a Friday table, until (6)/(7) made her aware of her error ex post facto
Should we call the podcast CatFight or The Tock Tick-Tock or what
Twitter commentariat who read earlier versions of the Medium post than I did are saying it has been edited to remove CC asst’s explicit request for a Saturday res, and imply it was a Friday request!
Things we know for sure:
- CC behaved appallingly at the restaurant (camera footage!)
- CC’s Instagram post was oh my god, so shitty (snitchily tagging all those chefs!)
It looks like the case is all collapsing onto the truth of (3): Did CC’s assistant realize she was accepting a table for Friday, not Saturday?
*podcaster voice* When I started investigating this case, I knew I’d be dealing with a lot of raw emotions and murky moral compasses. I just didn’t imagine that the emotions and morals [three slowly plucked notes on a guitar] might be mine
Did Nick maybe kinda overdo it on the Medium Post? Is it a brutal self-own for CC to snitch tag a famous chef who she maybe doesn’t realize had a baby two days ago? We’ll find out, next week on the pod.

Buy MeUndies! Use MailChimp! Deed your estate to WeWork! Thanks interns!
I can’t believe I have to say this but: the podcast isn’t real, folks
Is this, as someone put it in DMs, a case of two separate admins fucking up and, like oblivious and well-moisturized ships in the night, not clocking each other’s fuckup, and then later scrambling to cover it from their employers’ gaze?
The moisturizer is my addition, idk why but I feel like both parties in this email probably have really great skin
And then the employers, on both sides, had big public blowups (though one side’s big public blowup is definitely a few orders of magnitude more embarrassing than the other side’s)
Remember when someone tried to bring a baby to Alinea? That was a fun day in Early Chicago Food Twitter
This dovetails with my own extremely journalistically rigorous findings! @gleam you are an official friend of the pod!
Maybe we’re all sentient bees
That’s where all my favorite podcasts end up so I’m taking this one there too
Y’all the podcast is BACK as another WILD PLOT TWIST emerges
Did CC (or her assistant?) do the classic “change the quoted-email metadata to cover one’s ass” move to cover her ass??? Did the original email really say Friday???
*phone ringing sfx* *silverware clanking sfx* In the digital age, everything is mutable, even time and space—at least, in the quoted body of a forwarded email. I found myself wondering, what is truth, anyway?
This statement CC gave to the Sun-Times is ... not terribly redemptive
Calling Alinea a “local restaurant” and Achatz a “local chef” in Chicago is sort of like going to Boston and calling Kyrie Irving a “local basketball player”
Saying “It worked exactly as planned, I was just hoping to start a conversation” after being torn to shreds for doing a dick move in public is the last flail of the drowning
Please note that the official name of this podcast is CatFight: Nonlinea and make sure it’s cited properly in all academic and journalistic references. I’m the host and producer and you are all my interns.
So the real question now is: Who doctored the email subject line?
Let’s go back to the timeline we established in episode 2
Did the original email in (1) actually read “Friday,” not “Saturday”? Early readers of Nick’s Medium post say the email they saw said “Saturday,” but was that just because it was a screenshot of CC’s own Instagram post of the text of a forwarded email?
On the left we have Nick’s screenshot of the original email, with the subject line clearly reading FRIDAY. On the right, CC’s instagrammed email forward where the subject line clearly says SATURDAY.
A quick ad break to plug our sponsor, My Actual Job, which today published my meticulous & subtle profile of an extraordinary LA chef revolutionizing a type of cooking almost nobody in America understands, tonally EXTREMELY DISSIMILAR from this podcast…
*theremin riff* My eagle-eyed interns have noted that the CC version of the email also has “for tomorrow night” excised from it (or was it added in the Alinea version???) Clearly SOMEONE changed something.
The difference in the time stamps is also worth noting: Clearly CC’s assistant is two hours earlier than Alinea. Her email recorded the message being sent at 8:18am. The Alinea version says 10:17. *deep inhale* What happened to that missing minute? [zither ripple]
We’ve got to keep an open mind; if there’s one thing I’ve learned while investigating this case, it’s that things are rarely what they seem.
jk pretty clearly CC’s assistant tried to cover her ass and then CC for some reason chose to display her own, but we’ve got three more episodes that advertisers are sold into so I’ve gotta pad this with red herrings. *Ira Glass voice* Stay with us.
Like I said, extremely tonally dissimilar!
I couldn’t get past this lost minute between emails. What could have happened in that time? What moves could have been made? What changes? What scrambles? I called some experts on how computers work, or whatever, to try to help me understand
One thing that we still haven’t accounted for is CC’s alleged unreachability on Saturday. Was she truly not responsive to phone and email? Do voicemails, emails, and texts exist of anyone’s attempts to reach her?
Here’s Nick’s side of that alleged unreachability. Is poor Veronica still trying frantically to cover her mistake from her employer—an employer, we now know, prone to extremely angry verbal and social media outbursts?
NEW EPISODE, brought to you by Bombas socks, which have that weird puffy ankle bit that looks weird with low-tops.

Today we’re joined by David Chang, very famous chef, new dad, snitch-tagged in CC’s insta post. Dave, what’s your take?
It’s a podcast so please just imagine I’m doing this
Whoa whoa then why does the subject line say “visits Friday” in your email?
Are you saying ON AIR ON THE PODCAST that there are TWO SIMULTANEOUS EMAIL CHAINS, @nickkokonas? With competing days in their subject lines?

*cliffhanger credits music*
Sidebar episode! Last night David Blaine performed a private magic show for the Alinea staff??? which makes me feel insecure in my sense of myself as a good tipper!
Our production team is frantically trying to reach the fake TK for comment
You can totally change the sent deets *of the email being forwarded* if it appears in the body of the email — as in gmail, etc. It’s just styled text.
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