‘Top Chef’ Fatima Ali’s Family Honors Her By Embarking on Culinary Tour of the World: ‘It Was a Precious Opportunity’

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Fatima Ali Tommy Garcia/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Top Chef Favorite Fatima Ali’s family continues to honor her more than six months after her death from Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

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In a moving post on the former reality show contestant’s Instagram page, members of her family shared that they recently ventured to Italy and dined at what was supposed to be the talented cook’s first stop on her worldwide culinary tour, which she intended to embark on before her death in January, but was ultimately too sick to take.

Ali’s eatery of choice was chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Modena. “[Fati] talked passionately about wanting to see Italy, and of course, eat her way through it,” the post began. ”We wrote a long list of all of the different food adventures she would have from each country she could get to – Denmark, Peru, France, her beloved Spain, and countless others. To remember Fatima and honor her is to remember to share love and joy with the world, and to soak up all of the incredible experiences you can, while you can.”

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This was meant to be Fati’s first stop, a seat at Chef @massimobottura’s table. She talked passionately about wanting to see Italy, and of course, eat her way through it. We wrote a long list of all of the different food adventures she would have from each country she could get to – Denmark, Peru, France, her beloved Spain, and countless others. To remember Fatima and honour her is to remember to share love and joy with the world, and to soak up all of the incredible experiences you can, while you can 🌼 With her daughter in mind, her mom followed the breadcrumbs Fati left to a place where love and joy is abundant, #osteriafrancescana at @casamarialuigia. Where @massimobottura and his incredible wife @laratgilmore made time to meet and host our mom to give her and some of her dearest friends the experience Fati was so eager to have and share with all of us. The evening will never be forgotten by any who were there, Lara and Chef Massimo both paid special tribute to our Chef Fati, who was no doubt gleefully watching over her mom as she tried to decipher all five of the ages of parmigiano reggiano. 💫 It was a precious opportunity, to go on a journey Fatima was looking forward to against the intensely challenging odds she was facing, and in some way represent and share a part of her with Chef Massimo. He talked about how deeply moved he was by her story, her writing, and the gesture he could see our mother making. We can be very proud today, of Fatima, and how she continues to inspire people, and of her heartbroken mother who is honouring her daughter’s memory the best way she can – by making an effort to ‘indulge in the experiences of living’. 💓 A huge thank you to the entire team at @casamarialuigia, to the master curator Lara, and to the brilliant @massimobottura for helping us make such a special thing happen. The entire experience was truly food for the soul, connecting two beautiful memories in a place which was made to honour and pay tribute to the love for a mother, and a journey taken there for the love of a daughter 💖💕 #cheffati #fatimaali #cheffatima

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Speaking specifically about the award-winning European restaurant, the post noted that Ali’s mother followed “breadcrumbs” left behind by her daughter to “a place where love and joy is abundant, #osteriafrancescana at @casamarialuigia.”

While at the famed establishment, Ali’s family and some dear friends were given the unforgettable experience Fati was meant to have, thanks to Bottura and his wife, Lara. “The evening will never be forgotten by any who were there, Lara and Chef Massimo both paid special tribute to our Chef Fati, who was no doubt gleefully watching over her mom as she tried to decipher all five of the ages of parmigiano reggiano,” the post explained. “It was a precious opportunity, to go on a journey Fatima was looking forward to against the intensely challenging odds she was facing, and in some way represent and share a part of her with Chef Massimo.”

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Even though Ali and Bottura never met, he was nonetheless touched by the reality star. “[Bottura] talked about how deeply moved he was by her story, her writing and the gesture he could see our mother making,” the post continued. “We can be very proud today, of Fatima, and how she continues to inspire people, and of her heartbroken mother who is honoring her daughter’s memory the best way she can – by making an effort to ‘indulge in the experiences of living.’”

The lengthy post concluded with a “huge thank you” to the whole team at Osteria Francescana. “The entire experience was truly food for the soul, connecting two beautiful memories in a place which was made to honor and pay tribute to the love for a mother, and a journey taken there for the love of a daughter.”

Prior to her death, Ali exclusively told Us Weekly that she was planning a trip around the world to visit new restaurants and get her “eat on.” When the Top Chef season 15 fan favorite appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in November 2018, the talk show host gave her a check for $50,000 to get the adventure started.

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After her health took a turn for the worse a short time later, Ali died in January. “Fatima was at home with us, surrounded by her loved ones and beloved cat Mr. Meow, when she left us in the early hours of the morning,” her family wrote on Instagram at the time. “Though she’s no longer here with us, her spirit will continue to steer us. We hope that you, too, will listen to her lessons: Live your life as she did—to the fullest.”

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