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Style & Living Top Chef

Fatima Ali's Top Chef Colleagues Reunited for Award Presentation Honoring Her Legacy (UPDATED)

The Samfund's "Chef Fatima Spirit Award" was renamed for the Bravo's Top Chef fan favorite. 

By Alesandra Dubin
Celebrating the Life of Bravo's Top Chef Alum Fatima Ali

UPDATE (Oct. 2, 2019, 12:15 p.m.): On September 25, Bravo's Top Chef Season 15 alums Joe Flamm, Tyler Anderson, Chris Scott, Bruce Kalman, and Adrienne Cheatham reunited to present the first annual Chef Fatima Spirit Award. The award is in honor of Fatima Ali, Season 15 Fan Favorite winner who passed away after a battle with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone and soft tissue cancer, in January. Fatima's brother, Mohammed Ali, was also in attendance to present the award.

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Brothers John and Kurt Schwartz were the recipients of the Chef Fatima Spirit Award. The two rowed 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean to raise awareness of The Samfund, an organization that awards grants to young adult survivors in financial need and which renamed its Annual Celebration’s Award in honor of Fatima. Samantha Watson, who founded The Samfund, was also diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in December of 1999.

The original story continues below.

Chef Fatima Ali's many admirers continue to find ways to honor her memory following her passing in January at age 29 from cancer. She posthumously won a James Beard Award back in April. And then on August 8, what would have been her 30th birthday, Fati's name became connected with another significant award: The Samfund announced that its Spirit Award would be officially renamed the Chef Fatima Spirit Award. 

The Samfund, which helps young people facing cancer and its associated financial burdens, has now announced that it will hold its annual celebration to bestow that award on September 25 in New York City. The fund-raising event will feature dishes from chefs, specialty cocktails, and an auction. 

Among the chefs set to prepare food at the event are Joe Flamm, executive chef of Chicago's Michelin-starred Spiaggia and Café Spiaggia, Bravo's Top Chef Season 15 runner-up — and dear friend to Fati — as well as Adrienne Cheatham, Christopher Scott, and Tyler Anderson.

This year, The Samfund will bestow the award upon John and Kurt Schwartz, who rowed 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean to raise awareness of the organization. 

Chef Fatima had joined 2018 fund-raiser as a featured chef, and connected right away with The Samfund’s work and its community. Samfund founder Samantha Watson said in a release, “John and Kurt perfectly embody the spirit and passion that Fatima had, and their trip across the ocean encapsulates her compassion, kindness, and sense of adventure. We hope to honor Fatima’s lasting impact on the world and show that together, we can make a difference in the lives of young adults who find themselves struggling because of cancer.” 

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