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Top Chef fans have been following former contestant Fatima Ali ever since news spread of the cancer diagnosis she received after filming the show. Ali resurfaced recently to share some news with those curious about her condition, and, unfortunately, it's not good news. The chef and former Chopped winner announced that her cancer is "back with a vengeance," and that she doesn't have much time left:
The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone. 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.
Fatima Ali delivered a spark of humor at the end with her reference to 13 Going On 30, perhaps to soften the blow of her prognosis to interested parties. The Pakistani chef mentioned that she's spent more time in hospital rooms than her apartment in the past year, to the point where the staff has become a part of her family. Ali's actual family is around as well, and she mentioned "smothering" her family with time she used to squander on herself in the update she posted on bonappetit.com.
Even in sickness, food is still a part of Fatima Ali's life. While the former Top Chef contestant doesn't mention cooking for herself, she does state she intends to "overload her senses" by making reservations at the world's best restaurants. Ali mentioned how her priorities have changed in light of the time she has left, although food still seems to be at the forefront of her goals:
Until then, every day is an opportunity for me to experience something new. I used to dream of owning my own restaurant. Now I have an ever growing list of the ones I need to visit. From decadent uni and truffle toast at Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare to spice-laden Szechuan hot pot in Flushing, I'm sketching a plan to eat my way through New York and the boroughs while I can.
If there is any upside to this sad news, Fatima Ali seems to be accomplishing her goal thanks to kind chefs. Ali specifically mentioned that Noma chef Rene Redzepi replied to her when she sent the restaurant's social media a message, hoping to reserve a table while knowing the place is fully booked for seafood season. Ali joked that people often respond when they're told someone is dying of cancer, and we're hoping that's more true than not as she works to fulfill as much of her food bucket list as possible.
As mentioned, Fatima Ali competed in Top Chef Season 15 but was eliminated from the show. Though she lost the competition, she did gain some friends, and Ali shared a video from her former Top Chef family that was sent to her while she was in the hospital a couple of weeks before her update. The group sent their best wishes, and encouraged Ali to continue her fight against Ewings Sarcoma:
Season 16 of Top Chef is on its way to Bravo, but an official premiere date has not been announced. For more on upcoming fall shows and where to find them, be sure to visit our fall premiere guide.