Watch 'Top Chef's' Fatima Ali Share Her Inspiring Story with Ellen Degeneres
The 29-year-old chef was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year.
For most Top Chef contestants, whether they win or not, the year or so after appearing on Bravo's culinary competition is a pseudo-victory lap. For New York City-based chef Fatima Ali, her post-season certainly started off that way. Ali didn't win the Top Chef title but was voted the fan favorite among a well-liked and close-knit season 15 cast.
And earlier this year, the 29-year-old had another reason to celebrate. Ali had been previously diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of cancer that affects the soft tissues around bones, however, the disease went into remission after chemotherapy. Eventually, she was even declared “cancer-free,” and started hitting the food festival circuit.
But a pain in her hip alerted her that things were not as clear as they seemed. After another check-up, her doctor delivered the news that the cancer was still there and had metastasized. Ali was told she only had a year to live. While a devastating diagnosis, Ali is turning that prognosis into an opportunity to live the rest of her life to the fullest, taking the next year to travel, eat, and enjoy her remaining time as long as she has it, as she explained in a personal essay earlier this month.
Yesterday, Ali sat down with Ellen DeGeneres to tell her story and share a bit more about what her "bucket list" plans are. Take a look at the interview below:
In a short introduction video, Ali cooks with her mother while sharing the history of her battle with cancer. Ali's mom says that during chemotherapy she had Fatima watched Ellen every day to help them get through the difficult process. Later, in the interview, Ali tells Degeneres her bucket list includes (other than meeting Ellen and Twitch) eating in restaurants around Europe, (namely Italy, France, and Spain), and a safari in South Africa, among other adventures.
“You get to live the way we’re all supposed to live. And who knows what tomorrow brings? You just happen to have this diagnosis, but we all should be living like that,” DeGeneres tells Ali.
To support Ali's adventures, fellow Top Chef contestant (and runner-up) Adrienne Cheatham started a #TeamFati GoFundMe campaign a few weeks ago to raise money for travel and medical costs, which has since amassed over $75,000. Ali told DeGeneres that much of the money will be donated to Ewing Sarcoma research. While that's already an incredible outpouring, DeGeneres capped the interview off by giving Ali a check for another $50,000.