We all know how difficult it is to follow our dreams, especially because the subcontinent mentality is hell-bent on making doctors, engineers, and accountants out of all of us. A few of us manage to break the glass ceiling and actually do what our heart desires, despite all odds. That is the case with Chef Fatima Ali.
Fatima Ali is a 29-year-old Pakistani Chef based in New York, USA.
As a Pakistani teenager, she begged her parents to let her pursue her dreams of being a chef, and she jetted off to fulfill her dreams.
And fulfill them she did. She studied at the Culinary Institute of America, worked at upscale restaurants before she ended up at an episode of The Food Network’s TV show, Chopped.
She became the first Pakistani woman to win the competition with her unique take on Pakistani cuisine.
Apart from that, she also became a contestant on Bravo’s TV Show, Top Chef. In an interview with Medium, she said:
“Historically the professional kitchen has always been a male-dominated one. A girl from Pakistan in one of those male-dominated kitchens in usually rare.”
In 2017, shortly after filming for Top Chef, she was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a form of cancer that occurs in the bone and affects the tissue around it.
With Fatima breaking bounds and achieving so much in life, she bravely stood up to cancer itself. In an essay for a food magazine called Bon Appetit, she wrote: “The edges of my thoughts are tinged with worry, but I know that my love for food and cooking is so strong inside me that even cancer can’t cut it down.”
She went through months of surgery and chemotherapy and was declared cancer-free in July. However, last month the doctors told her that the cancer had returned and this time, it was terminal. Fatima has only one year to live.
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On Thursday I’ll find out if my surgeons removed all of the cancer inside of my shoulder. I have spent my life taking many things for granted- but if I get a second chance to do this right, I know now that life is all about the little things. Photo by my brilliantly talented friend @marktomphotography 🖤 #fuckcancer
The NYC Chef didn’t let that news break her spirit though. She found a new perspective on life.
She writes in Bon Appetit:
“An odd sense of relief has settled inside me, knowing that I can finally live for myself, even if it’s just for a few more precious months.”
Fatima decided to live her life to the fullest without letting the heartbreaking news break her will to live.
She decided to make the most of her time and do everything she had been too scared, or busy to do. She also decided to make amends with people, to ask for forgiveness, to make things right in her last year.
Fatima’s dedication to the culinary arts and her love for food garnered attention from all across the globe.
People loved her unwavering spirit and loyalty towards food. Her promise of living her best life made her such an inspiration that famous talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, invited her to her show. She also gifted her $50,000 dollars to fulfill her last wishes of traveling the world and dining at the best restaurants around the globe.
Fatima is truly inspirational for following her dreams and remaining passionate in the face of obstacles.
She worked at the best restaurants in NYC, created a name for herself and shattered boundaries that otherwise seemed unbreakable. Not only that but her positive outlook towards life, despite the circumstances of her health, is inspirational. We could all learn a thing or two from her
We wish Fatima the best for the rest of her journey. Leave some love for Fatima behind in the comments section below.