Fatima Ali's Posthumous Memoir Is On Shelves Now

From the moment she first appeared on our TV screens, Fatima Ali felt like a breath of fresh air. Her unique take on Pakistani cuisine brought something novel to "Top Chef" season 15, but it was her enthusiasm and fun personality that really won viewers' hearts on the Bravo program. While she did not end up in the finals, she won the audience's "Fan Favorite" vote for the season, to the surprise of nobody. CNN adds that she was a winner well before entering that competition, having taken home the first-place prize on "Chopped" in 2012.

The universal love Ali seemed to receive made it all the more devastating when she was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a form of tissue and bone cancer. CNN reports that she had surgery in 2018 to remove a tumor from her shoulder, but later that year, she revealed on Bon Appétit that her cancer had returned, and was determined to be terminal. In the face of this devastating revelation, she doubled down on her passion for food, embarking on an international dining mission. 

Sadly, her journey was cut short with news of her 2019 death at the age of 29, but her legacy lives on with the release of her posthumous memoir, "Savor: A Chef's Hunger for More," published this week by Penguin Random House.

Savor adds to Fatima Ali's formidable legacy

Ali's international culinary tour was cut short when her health worsened (but not before she slid into René Redzepi's DMs to snag a reservation at the highly exclusive Noma, as she revealed in Bon Appétit). In her final months, she shifted her focus to writing a memoir. "Savor" was completed with contributions from Ali's mother, Farezeh, and collaborator, Tarajia Morrell (via Penguin Random House). It bounces between the past and present, charting the young chef's path from her native Pakistan to the cutthroat culinary world of New York City and beyond.

In an excerpt shared with Bon Appétit, Ali recalls the apprehensions she had as she worked her way through the Culinary Institute of America and apprenticeships in New York. Her skin color and Muslim faith made her an outlier in the eyes of some, but her talent exceeded many. After graduating C.I.A. (as valedictorian, no less), she was determined to make the world a better place through food, and particularly to help the children of Pakistan. 

The release of Ali's memoir adds to her already formidable legacy as it delivers new revelations on one of the most popular chefs of our time.