“Even in her death, she lives."
Pakistani-American chef Fatima Ali, who sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2019, has posthumously won the James Beard Award for a second time.
Fatima won the James Beard Foundation award after she penned an essay highlighting what it was like to live with sarcoma – a rare type of cancer that is found in bone and connective tissues.
The daughter of Ashtar Ausaf Ali, former attorney general for Pakistan, Fatima made many triumphant appearances on a number of reality cooking shows, including Chopped and Top Chef.
While Fatima was battling cancer, she wrote a book titled Savor, A Chef’s Hunger for More. The book was published shortly after her death and earned literary acclaim in a short period of time.
On June 3, 2023, stars of the culinary world gathered together in Chicago, to honour the late chef, who posthumously won a second James Beard Award.
Her father said in a statement: “Even in her death, she lives.
“Her achievements are well documented, and her latest book will outlive all of us.
“While we mourn her loss we need to celebrate her life and her achievements.”
At the age of 18, Fatima Ali moved to New York and attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 2011.
She rose to fame when she came seventh on season 15 of the popular show Top Chef.
She was recognised for her “fun personality and excellent cooking” of food.
Towards the end of 2017, Fatima was diagnosed with cancer.
She underwent chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumour, but her health went on to deteriorate.
In October 2018, Ali wrote an essay named I’m a Chef with Terminal Cancer. This Is What I’m Doing with the Time I Have Left.
The essay was for Bon Appetite magazine and she went on to win an award for it.
Before her demise, Fatima Ali had planned international trips and maximised time with family and friends.
She had said:
“I decided not to spend whatever time I had left… lamenting all the things that weren’t right.
“Instead, I’d make the most of it. I’m using cancer as the excuse I needed to actually go and get things done.
“What is my intention? To live my life. To fulfil all those genuine dreams I have.”
Fatima Ali grew up in Pakistan, dividing her time between Karachi and Lahore.