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‘Top Chef’ Season 15 Contestants Have ‘Bittersweet’ Reunion as Fatima Ali Battles Cancer

‘Top Chef' Season 15 Contestants Reunite for Fatima Ali
Fatima Ali competes in ‘Restaurant Wars’ during season 15 of ‘Top Chef’. Paul Trantow/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images


The cast of Top Chef season 15 had a bittersweet reunion on Sunday, January 13. The culinary minds came together in Los Angeles to honor one of their own – Fatima Ali. The 29-year-old, who asked for prayers on January 10, is currently battling cancer and, in her own words, is “getting sicker.”

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Joe Flamm, who won season 15 of the Bravo competition show, took to Instagram to share a photo of Ali in a hospital bed cradling his young son, Luka, in her arms. “Today was a good day #teamfati,” Flamm captioned the snap.

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Today was a good day #teamfati

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Fellow contestant Bruce Kalman, meanwhile, captioned a photo of Ali and Luka, “We all came together, flew in from as far as Alaska, to see this beautiful lady, and got to have some laughs with her. We love you so very much.”

Ali’s other Top Chef visitors included Adrienne Cheatham, Tyler Anderson, Tanya Holland, Claudette Wilkins, Carrie Baird, Rogelio Garcia, Chris Scott, Tu David Phu, Joe Sasto, Melissa Perfit and Laura Cole. Many of them also took to social media to mark the bittersweet occasion.

Scott declared the group “Season 15 strong,” and Garcia echoed that sentiment when he shared a photo of the gang on Instagram. “So happy to see you this week @cheffati … praying for you,” he wrote. “When one of us hurts we all hurt …” He also referred to the Top Chef crew as “the friends that became family.”

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Perit also took to Instagram to mark the meeting and opened up about the complicated nature of the day. “So bittersweet to see all these amazing friends come together to see our sweet @cheffati,” she wrote. “It’s impossible to explain how we all feel. You are so amazing. We love you so much.”

Holland called Ali the “glue” of the group and said they’re all “bonded forever now.”

Wilkins had similar thoughts and was glad her children got to meet many members of her Top Chef family. “These people are my people. Hard to explain the bonds that happen during our time together,” she captioned a series of Instagram photos. “I wish they under better circumstances that we were together but when one hurts we all hurt and we rally. @cheffati is loved beyond belief and we will be here for her and each other. Thankful my kids got to meet them yesterday to see how funny and comfortable we are with each other.”

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Ali revealed her terminal diagnosis, which was a recurrence of cancer, in an essay published by Bon Appétit’s Healthyish in October 2018. “The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone,” she penned at the time. “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.”

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