This past Thursday (August 8) would have been famed chef Fatima Ali’s 30thbirthday. The Top Chef star should have woken up and enjoyed a delicious breakfast and enjoyed a day filled with well wishes from family and friends.
But that didn’t happen. Ali passed away earlier this year of cancer.
However, this didn’t keep her Top Chef co-star and dear friend Padma Lakshmi from sending birthday wishes to the heavens above.
“Happy Birthday Fati,” Lakshmi wrote on her Instagram page Thursday (August 8) alongside a funny video of Ali singing in her kitchen. “Wherever your spirit is, I know you’ll be eating something yummy.”
The post served as yet another sad reminder that the world no longer has Ali living in it. However, her spirit does indeed live on in all those she touched. In fact, on July 28, her family shared a message on Ali’s very own Instagram page letting fans know that they were currently fulfilling one of her greatest wishes.
“She talked passionately about wanting to see Italy, and of course, eat her way through it,” the post read. “We wrote a long list of all of the different food adventures she would have from each country she could get to — Denmark, Peru, France, her beloved Spain, and countless others. 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.”
Amen to that.
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This was meant to be Fati’s first stop, a seat at Chef @massimobottura’s table. She talked passionately about wanting to see Italy, and of course, eat her way through it. We wrote a long list of all of the different food adventures she would have from each country she could get to – Denmark, Peru, France, her beloved Spain, and countless others. 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 🌼 With her daughter in mind, her mom followed the breadcrumbs Fati left to a place where love and joy is abundant, #osteriafrancescana at @casamarialuigia. Where @massimobottura and his incredible wife @laratgilmore 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’. 💓 A huge thank you to the entire team at @casamarialuigia, to the master curator Lara, and to the brilliant @massimobottura for helping us make such a special thing happen. The entire experience was truly food for the soul, connecting two beautiful memories in a place which was made to honour and pay tribute to the love for a mother, and a journey taken there for the love of a daughter 💖💕 #cheffati #fatimaali #cheffatima