Q What's the background of TV chef Cat Cora? I find her very intriguing.
—Val Andersen, Utica, N.Y.
Cora, 38, the first and so far only female Iron Chef in the history of the popular TV cooking competition on the Food Network, was born and raised in a Mississippi family rich in Greek culinary heritage. After earning a bachelor of science degree in exercise physiology and biology, she studied cooking in New York, apprenticed under master chefs in France and finally settled in California. She serves as executive chef for Bon Appetit magazine, recently published the book Cooking From the Hip and plans to open her own line of barbecue restaurants, CCQ, later this year. As founder and president of the organization Chefs for Humanity, she spearheads ongoing efforts to raise money and provide resources for hunger-related causes around the world.