Fatima Ali is ready to take the world by storm! The Top Chef alum spoke openly to Us Weekly about how she plans to spend the upcoming year of her life following a devastating terminal cancer diagnosis.
“I am much more keen on visiting new restaurants all around the world and getting my eat on,” Ali, 29, told Us of traveling and indulging in her favorite foods.
Ali — who was a fan favorite on season 15 of Top Chef and placed seventh — announced her heartbreaking news on October 9 in an essay published by Bon Appétit’s Healthyish.
“The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone,” she penned. “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.”
As for the restaurants Ali is looking forward to noshing at, she tells she “will never say no to a good meal — be it the tiniest of road side stalls (often my favorite) to the best in the world like NOMA or Eleven Madison Park.”
Ali also dished on the best meal she’s ever had, which was while she was attending the Culinary Institute of America.
“I was lucky enough to travel through Spain with my class. I left my heart in San Sebastian at a cider house called Gurutzeta where giant wooden barrels line the walls are filled with crisp, slightly effervescent dreams of liquid gold,” she recalled. “The delicate bacalao tortilla, perfectly cooked and seasoned T-Bone steak and fresh walnuts are all you eat in between sampling from the cider barrels – calling out ‘Txotx’ as an invitation to drink with all those sitting on the communal tables. Despite the copious amounts of cider before noon and a heavy afternoon siesta on the bus on the way back, I will never forget that day.”
Following her emotional essay, celebrities, Top Chef castmates and fans have all continued to share their support for Ali, including starting a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to support her dream of traveling to the world’s best restaurants.