NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Former “Top Chef” Fatima Ali says she has a year to live.

The 29-year-old underwent surgery to remove a tumor in January. However, Ali wrote Tuesday in an essay for Bon Appetit that the “cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone.” Ali says her oncologist told her she has a year to live, “with or without the new chemotherapy regimen.”

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She writes she used to dream of owning her own restaurant. Now she has a growing list of restaurants to visit and is “sketching a plan” to eat her way through New York.

Ali says “every day is an opportunity for me to experience something new.”

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Top Chef Host Padma Lakshi shared an emotional tribute to the young chef on Instagram.

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Dear friends, I have seen @cheffati grow and blossom every day I walked into the @bravotopchef kitchen. I have seen Fatima’s ambition sharpen over weeks of competition, seen her soar along with all of you. Most of you will read Fatima’s writing for the first time in this @bonappetit piece. Since her diagnosis I have been fortunate enough to get to know her deeper and in a new light. Over these months, I have come to know her family. Her mother has shown me her older writing which is just as poignant. I am pleased to share my friend’s story with you all today. I am so proud of her. I can tell you that in these months I have not only seen her continue to find her voice, but been inspired by her exponentially. I have gotten to know most of her family and in them I see my own. I was in the hospital with her the morning she had surgery months ago and witnessed her courage. The day after my @nytimes piece came out, I went to see her, and she cheered me on by holding my hand from the hospital bed, assuring me I had not flayed myself in vain. I was with her last night as she went in for radiation and she still turned back to smile at her mother and me when the nurse with the wheelchair came. I hope that this year brings her as much as she can hope for. You’ve said on the show that growing up I inspired you. But Fati, now, it’s you who inspire me. Everyday. I love you Fati. Link in bio. #teamfati

A post shared by Padma Lakshmi (@padmalakshmi) on

Ali appeared on Season 15 of the Bravo series.

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The ninth season was filmed in various cities in Texas, including San Antonio, Dallas and Austin.