By Fatima Ali, with Tarajia Morrell
2022 • Ballantine Books
Fatima Ali won the hearts of viewers as the season fifteen "Fan Favorite" of Bravo's Top Chef. At twenty-nine years old, she was a dynamic, boundary-breaking chef and a bright new voice for change in the food world. After the taping wrapped and before the show aired, Fati was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Not one to ever slow down or admit defeat, the star chef vowed to spend her final year traveling the world, eating delicious food, and making memories with her loved ones. But when her condition abruptly worsened, her plans were sidelined. She pivoted, determined to make her final days count as she worked to tell the story of a brown girl chef who set out to make a name for herself, her food, and her culture.
Including writing from Fatima during her last months and contributions by her mother, Farezeh, and her collaborator, Tarajia Morrell, this deftly woven memoir is an inspiring ode to the food, family, and countries Fatima loved so much. Flashing between past and present, readers are transported back to Pakistan and the childhoods of both Fatima and Farezeh, each deeply affected by the cultural barriers they faced, shaping the course of their lives. From the rustic stalls of the outdoor markets of Karachi to the kitchen and dining room of Meadowood, the acclaimed three-star Michelin restaurant where Fatima apprenticed, Fati reflects on her life and her identity as a chef, a daughter, and a queer woman butting up against traditional views.
This triumphant memoir is at once an exploration of the sense of wonder that made Fatima so special, and a shining testament to the resilience of the human spirit. It is, at its core, a story about what it means to truly live, a profound and exquisite portrait of savoring every moment.
Tags: 2023 James Beard Nominee, 2023 James Beard Winner, AAPI & diaspora authors, food writing, individual chef, James Beard Nominee, James Beard winner, memoir, was-preorder