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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Bravo's Top Chef Season 15 Contestants Share Touching Tributes to Fatima Ali

The Top Chef family says goodbye to the beloved friend.

By Laura Rosenfeld
Celebrating the Life of Bravo's Top Chef Alum Fatima Ali

Tributes are pouring in from Fatima Ali's fellow contestants from Season 15 of Bravo's Top Chef following the news of her passing on Friday, January 25.

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Bruce Kalman shared the sad news with his followers on Instagram on Friday, along with a photo of himself and Tyler Anderson visiting their friend in the hospital. "It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer. I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever," he wrote. "I’ll always remember the great times we had, especially our interview during the tailgating episode discussing football, stadiums, and Taylor Swift. Much love, Bruce."

Tyler also paid tribute to Fatima on Instagram. "You will be forever missed my friend," he wrote. "You brought so much joy to those around you."

Top Chef Season 15 winner Joe Flamm shared a heartbreaking message on Instagram. "My heart is so broken today, thanks for gracing my life, meeting my son, being my friend, and letting me into your incredible existence, I’ll miss you more than you can know," Joe wrote. "Until I see you again, I’ll keep a bottle of whiskey and a coffee cup ready for you."

Tanya Holland will always remember Fatima not only for her sense of humor but also for her wisdom beyond her years. "I had so many laughs with this beautiful young brown woman! Despite her youth, there was an innate knowing, a maturity, worldliness and sophistication that I deeply appreciated. She was compassionate and empathetic. These qualities made her ambition and drive so authentic. We were soul sisters," Tanya shared on Instagram. "I will miss you dearly @cheffati. Do your work on the other side! Much love to your family! We will all carry on your legacy."

Brother Luck opened up about Fatima's passing on Instagram Friday. "My heart is heavy today with news of the beautiful @cheffati passing away from her battle with cancer this morning. I’m at a loss right now of how much this sucks but grateful she’s no longer in pain. God is gaining another angel today and heaven will be full of laughter upon her arrival," he wrote. "She was a queen who carried a heart of gold and my prayers go out to her family. I’m so grateful for the time spent with her and memories we shared. Please cherish the time you have with someone because tomorrow isn’t promised for anyone......."

Chris Scott posted a video showing him and Carrie Baird having some fun with Fatima behind the scenes of Season 15 of Top Chef. "I will miss you Fatima. Thank you for all the laughter, showing me some delicious food, but most of all your friendship," he wrote in the post. "I know you're somewhere singing with the angels. Love you."

Claudette Wilkins shared some of her favorite memories with Fatima. "My dearest Fatima, this is how I will remember you 'til my time on Earth is done. I will remember the hours on end we spent in the kid pool (the damn scratches) or the hot tub playing Never Have I Ever. Hearing you talk about your mom with so much love and wishing my kids would speak the same of me one day. Falling asleep talking about life/boys/dreams," she said on Instagram. "Sweet dreams our Pakistaní princess, the pain is over."

Laura Cole praised Fatima as "always such a brilliant raw star" on Instagram. "You will be forever an inspiration," she wrote. "Thank you for being you..."

Tu David Phu shared how much Fatima inspired him during their friendship. "I’m struggling to accept your passing. You had so much more to offer,"he shared. "However, there’s one thing I know for sure #god now has another #angel. You are truly an #inspiration. Your strength has taught me so much."

Rogelio Garcia also expressed his gratitude for having the chance to get to know and develop a friendship with Fatima. "She was beautiful inside and out. We will miss you forever," he said. "I’m honored that we crossed paths in this world. Thank you for sharing your story. We love you."

Fatima lost her battle with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone and soft tissue cancer, on Friday, January 25. The chef was diagnosed in late 2017 and later declared cancer-free after undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding cells in her left shoulder. However, Fatima confirmed in an essay published on Healthyish in October 2018 that her cancer had returned and doctors had given her a year to live.

The Top Chef family was by Fatima's side every step of the way, from visiting her in the hospital to organizing fundraisers to setting up a GoFundMe to help her live out her final days to the fullest. The Season 15 contestants came together earlier this month for a "bittersweet reunion" in which they showed their support for Fatima.

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