Padma Lakshmi has nothing but praise for her friend Fatima Ali. A day after Ali wrote about her terminal cancer diagnosis in a poignant essay published by Bon Appétit’s Healthyish on Tuesday, October 9, the Top Chef host penned a moving Twitter thread of her own in which she discussed Ali’s strength, personality and many talents.
“A thread: Dear friends, I have seen @cheffati grow and blossom every day I walked into the @bravotopchef kitchen. I have seen her ambition sharpen over weeks of competition, seen Fatima soar along with all of you,” Lakshmi began, linking to the Top Chef alum’s essay. “Most of you will read @cheffati’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.”
Lakshmi, 48, noted that Ali’s mother has shown her some of the 29-year-old’s earlier writing, which she describes as “just as poignant.”
“I am pleased to share my friend’s story with you all today. I am so proud of her,” the Emmy nominee continued. “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.”
The Love, Loss, and What We Ate author also wrote that she sees her own family in Ali’s, and said she has been by her friend’s side as she continues to battle cancer, explaining, “I was in the hospital with her the morning she had surgery months ago and witnessed her courage.” Lakshmi later added she was with Ali on October 9 as she went for a radiation treatment.
It also wasn’t lost on Lakshmi that, even in the midst of her own struggles, Ali was there to support her after she wrote an op-ed for The New York Times detailing her rape at 16. “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,” the reality TV personality recalled.
“I hope that this year brings her as much as she can hope for,” Lakshmi wrote of her friend, before addressing Ali directly. “You’ve said on @BravoTopChef that growing up I inspired you. But Fati, now, it’s you who inspire me. Everyday. I love you, @cheffati.”
Ali was previously diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in 2017, and Lakshmi has been by her side throughout her health struggles. In January 2018, the Bravo star even visited Ali before she was operated on and snapped a photo from the hospital. “I’d love it if everyone joins me today in saying a special prayer for our @cheffati who went into surgery a couple hours ago,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. “She was in good spirits when we walked her into OR, and am hoping for a great outcome today.”
A month later Ali confirmed she was cancer-free, but she began suffering complications after completing her final found of chemo in August. In her Bon Appétit essay Ali said doctors have given her one year to live.