Chef Fatima Ali's Posthumous Memoir Celebrates Her Fighting Spirit

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Chef Fatima Ali of "Top Chef" fame passed away from a form of cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma at the young age of 29 in January 2019 (via Today). But the legacy she has left behind is inspiring. She not only kept pursuing what she wanted out of life despite her disease but fought her way to be respected in kitchens as a Muslim woman (via Bon Appétit).

Before she passed away, Ali wrote an essay for Bon Appétit in which she outlined her plans for the future, plans that gave insight into her outlook and what was important to her. "What is my intention? To live my life. To fulfill all these genuine dreams I have ... now I'm doing things. I'm going out to eat. I'm making plans for vacations. I'm finding experimental treatments. I'm cooking. I'm writing," Ali wrote.

And write she certainly did. Ali's memoir, "Savor: A Chef's Hunger for More," was just released last week. Written in collaboration with her mother and author Tarajia Morrell, the book details Ali's childhood upbringing in Pakistan and the courage she showed coming up through Michelin-starred restaurants to be an acclaimed chef.

Fatima Ali's memoir is filled with courage

In an excerpt from "Savor" published in Bon Appétit, Fatima Ali chronicles an experience at her externship while a student at the Culinary Institute of America. Despite worrying about how she would be treated as a Muslim woman, she went into the experience with confidence. "There was a part of me that felt fearless. Internally, I repeated a mantra: I am not going to f*** up, I am not going to f*** up," she wrote. But alas, she did make a mistake and was blamed for the kitchen running out of halibut, an error she feared she would be fired for. The executive chef decided to keep her on. "I felt like a little girl – small, young, and foolish, but a little girl whom they had made space for, a little girl they wanted to keep," Ali wrote.

Before her valedictorian speech from culinary school, Ali remembered a commitment she made to help feed children in her native Pakistan. "With my education as armor, I needed to make my way into the world and figure out how to make it better through food. No more excuses," Ali wrote. Even when she won "Chopped," becoming the first Pakistani woman to do so (via CIA), she wanted her success to inspire Pakistani girls. This theme is said to recur in her book. But according to The New York Times, "Savor" is more than the sum of its themes: "a sort of 'Life Confidential.'"