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Fatima Ali On "Top Chef" And The Healing Powers Of Pakistani Food

The chef stopped by See Something Say Something to chat about her time on Top Chef, how her Pakistani heritage influences her work, and her recent cancer diagnosis.

Posted on June 27, 2018, at 4:55 p.m. ET

Let's get one thing straight: Fatima Ali is an icon.

The chef who won Fan Favorite on Season 15 of Top Chef joined us on the show to chat about her experiences in culinary school, growing up around Pakistani food, and her relationship to food during her cancer.
Kate Bubacz / BuzzFeed News

The chef who won Fan Favorite on Season 15 of Top Chef joined us on the show to chat about her experiences in culinary school, growing up around Pakistani food, and her relationship to food during her cancer.

Here's an excerpt:

I felt like I had to make the most of my education. You know, my parents really wanted to make sure that I was gonna be the best at what I did and I knew that I had to expand the breadth of my knowledge to be able to do that and when I was going through school I often wouldn’t taste things because they had pork in them.

I began to fall behind a little bit in some of my classes because I just couldn’t relate. I didn’t know how to butcher a pig, I didn’t know how to cook with it, I didn’t understand internal temperatures. … But then I always felt like I didn’t know what my peers knew and to me that was infuriating because I wanted to know more than what they knew.

She also shared how Pakistani food helped her during her recovery:

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