The best chefs in the country may go head-to-head in fierce competition every season of Bravo's Top Chef, but they always band together as a family when tragedy strikes one of their own.
The Bravo's Top Chef family has recently rallied around Season 15 Fan Favorite winner Fatima Ali, who was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone and soft tissue cancer, in late 2017. Fatima confirmed that her cancer had returned after she was declared cancer-free in February and also shared that doctors have given her a year to live in an essay published on Healthyish earlier this month. "The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone," Fatima wrote. "My oncologist has told me that I have a year to live, with or without the new chemotherapy regimen."
In particular, Bravo's Top Chef host and executive producer Padma Lakshmi has been by Fatima's side during her cancer battle, supporting her through her rounds of chemotherapy, surgery to remove the cancerous tumor and surrounding cells in her left shoulder, and hospital stays. “Padma has taken out much time for me and my family. Coming to sit with me during chemo, popping in with homemade khichdi, or sending over delicious chicken and homemade samosas,” Fatima shared with Us Weekly about Padma's support during an interview earlier this week. “While battling cancer, I have had energy for little else sometimes, and knowing that I have such a strong support system around me brings me great peace.”
Since the news of Fatima's terminal cancer diagnosis, Padma has provided comfort in the form of food, sending her an "epic honey crisp apple pie," as well as with a touching tribute on social media. "I am so proud of her. I can tell you that in these months I have not only seen her continue to find her voice, but been inspired by her exponentially," Padma shared on Instagram earlier this month. "You’ve said on the show that growing up I inspired you. But Fati, now, it’s you who inspire me. Everyday. I love you Fati."
Fatima also shared with Us Weekly how much it has meant to her to have the support of her loved ones, as well as complete strangers, during this difficult time. “I could not have gone through a single day without my family, especially my mother, by my side,” she said. “I can’t say that I have been surprised by anyone’s love, but I have been amazed by the sheer magnitude of care and outpour of messages from complete strangers. Every day, between all my social media accounts, I have had people send me their own journey of battling cancer or that of their loved ones or even just a simple line of encouragement.”
Of course, many others in the Bravo's Top Chef family have come out to show their support for Fatima in major ways throughout her cancer battle, from organizing fundraisers to launching a GoFundMe to sending messages of love for their fellow Cheftestant.
Padma opened up more about Fatima's cancer battle during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in February, which you can view, below.