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.”
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.”
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
Ali appeared on Season 15 of the Bravo series.
The ninth season was filmed in various cities in Texas, including San Antonio, Dallas and Austin.