Before she passed away in January at the age of 29, Chef Fatima Ali had dreams of traveling the world on an epic culinary tour. The Bravo's Top Chef fan favorite had created a list of the international restaurants that she dreamed of experiencing. And now, in her heartbreaking absence, Fati's family is honoring her memory by visiting some of those culinary hotspots.
An Instagram post in the late chef's feed explained the way that her mother is paying tribute to her daughter's exploratory spirit — and palate. To caption a photo of Fati's mother standing outside of a restaurant in Italy, the post read in part: "This was meant to be Fati’s first stop, a seat at Chef [Massimo Bottura's] table. She talked passionately about wanting to see Italy, and of course, eat her way through it ... To remember Fatima and honour her is to remember to share love and joy with the world, and to soak up all of the incredible experiences you can, while you can."
The post continued: "With her daughter in mind, her mom followed the breadcrumbs Fati left to a place where love and joy is abundant, [Osteria Francescana] ... Where [Massimo] and his incredible wife [Lara] made time to meet and host our mom to give her and some of her dearest friends the experience Fati was so eager to have and share with all of us. The evening will never be forgotten by any who were there, Lara and Chef Massimo both paid special tribute to our Chef Fati, who was no doubt gleefully watching over her mom as she tried to decipher all five of the ages of parmigiano reggiano."
"It was a precious opportunity, to go on a journey Fatima was looking forward to against the intensely challenging odds she was facing, and in some way represent and share a part of her with Chef Massimo. He talked about how deeply moved he was by her story, her writing, and the gesture he could see our mother making. We can be very proud today, of Fatima, and how she continues to inspire people, and of her heartbroken mother who is honouring her daughter’s memory the best way she can - by making an effort to ‘indulge in the experiences of living.’"
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