And so falls the second much-picked chef on this year’s DDP. While Andrew Fairlie was a veteran with over 30 years experience in the culinary game, Fatima Ali was just at the start of her career. Ali, a New York-based chef specialising in modern Pakistani cuisine, first came to nationwide attention as a contestant on Chopped in 2013. In a stunning departure for a Chopped competitor, she made a bread pudding in the dessert round.
However, it was on Season 15 of Top Chef that she found regular TV appearances: while not winning the show, she was voted “Fan’s Favorite”, a kind of culinary Miss Congeniality. She had been diagnosed with
Ewing’s sarcoma before filming the season, and received an all-clear following post-season chemotherapy. However, last October she was informed the cancer had returned, at stage 4, and she had less than a year to live. She promptly hit the media circuit, appearing on Ellen and as a regular in food sections of the US press, before being bed-ridden later in the year. She has now been Chopped for good, and can cut a bitter post-elimination interview at the pearly gates.