After she lost her brave battle against cancer yesterday, chef Fatima Ali's family released a statement on Instagram that encapsulates the legacy of her young life.
Fatima was known for her appearance on last year's Top Chef, but there was more to her than culinary prowess.
"Fatima was at home with us, surrounded by her loved ones and beloved cat Mr. Meow, when she left us in the early hours of the morning. When someone as bright and young and vivacious as our Fati passes, the only metaphor that seems to fit is that of a star—a beacon in the darkness, a light that guides us, on which to make wishes, from which to weave dreams. For all the comfort and beauty they offer us, stars, too, are impermanent. This morning a great one was snuffed out."
Her family said she taught them many lessons that everyone should emulate:
"Live your life as she did—to the fullest. Pursue your passion; spread love and joy; be kind and forgiving; be generous; enjoy every morsel—from humble street food to decadent fine dining; cook for the people you love. Travel the world and seek out adventure. Help others and don’t be afraid to take the road less taken.
"Fatima will always be a part of us, and in fact if you look deep enough, you may find your own inner Fati. If you’re lucky enough to find her there, trust her, listen to her, because she will change your life for the better. We’ve learned a great deal over the course of her illness, not only pragmatic lessons we wish we hadn’t needed to learn about her disease and our health system, but about the immense love of which people are capable; about the power of being true to yourself; about how we can be better if we model ourselves after someone like her."
Condolences began pouring in and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi and Ellen Degeneres, who recently gifted her $50,000 to dine around the world, were one of the first to pay tribute:
May Fatima rest in peace.