So heartbreaking! ‘Top Chef: Colorado’s beloved contestant Fatima Ali beat a rare form of cancer after being eliminated from the show. Now the disease is back and she has a terminal prognosis.
This is just devastating. Top Chef: Colorado contestant and fan favorite Fatima Ali‘s cancer has returned and she has only a year to live. The 29-year-old New Yorker was known to viewers for her exotic flavors and recipes that were nods to her native Pakistan. She didn’t make it to the final three, but after finishing in seventh place received the horrible news in late 2017 that she had a rare form of bone and tissue cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. She underwent aggressive treatments and was declared cancer free in Feb. of 2018, but the disease returned in August with a vengeance.
“The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone,” Fati wrote in an essay for Bon Appétit’s Healthyish on October 9. “My oncologist has told me that I have a year to live, with or without the new chemotherapy regimen. I was looking forward to being 30, flirty and thriving. Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose,” she added with her trademark sense of humor.
“It’s funny, isn’t it? When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living. When that choice is yanked away from us, that’s when we scramble to feel. I am desperate to overload my senses in the coming months, making reservations at the world’s best restaurants, reaching out to past lovers and friends, and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before,” she continued. Fati left home in Pakistan at age 18 after begging her parents to let her attend culinary school in New York. They relented, but made her promise that if she was going to be a chef she had to be the very best at it.
“I’ve spent more time in sterile hospital rooms in the past year than I have in my own apartment,” she wrote, adding she fears that she might accidentally call her night nurse ‘Mom.” “This has become my new home, and the staff a part of my family…Everyone’s amazed that I’m taking it so well. But when you hit rock bottom, there really is no place to go but up.”
Fati admitted she’s “scared” and afraid, but that she intends to spend her last days visiting the best restaurants New York and it’s boroughs have to offer. She was absolutely beloved by her fellow chefs on season 15 of Top Chef, so the goodwill among the culinary community should go a long way to securing her plenty of reservations. “I was always deathly afraid of being average in any way,” she concluded. “And now I desperately wish to have a simple, uneventful life.”