Chef Fatima Ali, who competed on Season 15 of Bravo’s Top Chef, has died at the age of 29 following a battle with cancer.
Fellow Top Chef contestant and close friend Bruce Kalman broke the sad news on Friday with a touching tribute on Instagram:
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It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer. I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever. I’ll always remember the great times we had, especially our interview during the tailgating episode discussing football, stadiums, and Taylor Swift. Much love, Bruce 😘 #fuckcancer #cheffati #topchef #friends #family #itsnotfair
A New York City chef specializing in modern Pakistani cuisine, Ali won a 2013 episode of Food Network’s Chopped before joining the Season 15 cast of Top Chef in 2017. Ali was eliminated in Week 9 of the competition, but was named the Fan Favorite at season’s end. She also struck up a friendship with host/judge Padma Lakshmi that lasted beyond her time on Top Chef. Lakshmi posted her own tribute to Ali, who she calls her “lil’ sis,” on Twitter:
Ali was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in late 2017, and though the cancer initially went into remission, she revealed that it had returned last October and that her diagnosis was terminal.