JAMES BEARD AWARD NOMINEE • A young chef whose dreams were cut short savors every last minute as she explores food and adventure, illness and mortality in Savor, an “inspiring” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir and family story that sweeps from Pakistan to Manhattan and beyond.
“Ali’s strength and passion for food and her culture shines through. . . . This memoir is a tribute to the extraordinary life and impact she made in twenty-nine years.”—Oprah Daily (Best Books of the Year)
Fatima Ali won the hearts of viewers as the Fan Favorite of Bravo’s Top Chef in season fifteen. Twenty-nine years old, she was a dynamic, boundary-breaking chef and a bright new voice for change in the food world. After the taping wrapped and before the show aired, Fati was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Not one to ever slow down or admit defeat, the star chef vowed to spend her final year traveling the world, eating delicious food, and making memories with her loved ones. But when her condition abruptly worsened, her plans were sidelined. She pivoted, determined to make her final days count as she worked to tell the story of a brown girl chef who set out to make a name for herself, her food, and her culture.
Including writing from Fatima during her last months and contributions by her mother, Farezeh, and her collaborator, Tarajia Morrell, Savor is a deftly woven account and an inspiring ode to the food, family, and countries Fatima loved so much. Alternating between past and present, readers are transported back to Pakistan and the childhoods of both Fatima and Farezeh, each deeply affected by cultural barriers that shaped the course of their lives. From the rustic stalls of the outdoor markets of Karachi to the kitchen and dining room of Meadowood, the acclaimed three-star Michelin restaurant where she apprenticed, Fati reflects on her life and her identity as a chef, a daughter, and a queer woman butting up against traditional views.
Savor is a triumphant memoir, at once an exploration of the sense of wonder that made Fatima so special and a shining testament to the resilience of the human spirit. At its core, it is a story about what it means to truly live, a profound and exquisite portrait of savoring every moment.
About the Author
Born in Pakistan, Fatima Ali was a chef in New York City. She received her education from the Culinary Institute of America and, at the age of twenty-three, competed in and won an episode of Chopped on the Food Network. Ali was a contestant on the fifteenth season of Bravo’s Top Chef, where she was voted Fan Favorite. She wrote several essays for Bon Appétit, one of which was posthumously awarded a James Beard Award after she passed away in January 2019.
Tarajia Morrell is a native New Yorker who grew up at the table. In 2011, Morrell created the food and travel blog The Lovage. Her reporting and essays have since appeared in WSJ. magazine, T Magazine, Food & Wine, Departures, and Cherry Bombe, among others. Morrell is also the author of Soul of New York: A Guide to 30 Exceptional Experiences. She lives in Manhattan with her daughter.
“Inspiring . . . Ali comes across as being sensual, vulnerable and wise. Even as she righteously mourns all that she’s losing, she maintains a wicked sense of humor. She writes, ‘I want to leave something behind, something traceable, that could perhaps help others to ride the bull, to grab life by the horns.’ With [Tarajia] Morrell as a posthumous guide, that is exactly what she has done with Savor.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A new posthumous memoir by beloved Pakistani American executive chef, restaurateur and television personality Fatima Ali . . . serves as an inspiring ode to the food, family and the countries Ali loved so much.”—Good Morning America
“Ali’s strength and passion for food and her culture shines through. Ali passed away in 2019 from bone cancer, and this memoir is a tribute to the extraordinary life and impact she made in 29 years.”—Oprah Daily
“[Ali’s] posthumous memoir is a moving, delicately written journal of her life and culinary career beginning with a keen interest in food as a child and well into school days as her mother encouraged her to pursue cooking professionally.”—The Bay Area Reporter
“This heartrending memoir will take you through Fatima Ali’s life and her love of food. . . . Ali was truly extraordinary and reading her memoir will illustrate exactly why she came to be a Top Chef fan favorite.”—Book Riot
“A triumphant memoir . . . This heart wrenching read serves as a more than fitting tribute to an unforgettable culinary star.”—Chicago Review of Books
“Fatima Ali became a fan favorite among foodies nationwide with her appearance on Bravo’s Top Chef. . . . Ali truly lived life to the fullest up to the end, as detailed in this posthumous memoir recounting her last travels around the world, her childhood in Pakistan, and her reflections as a chef, a daughter, and a queer woman trying to achieve her dreams and honor her family in the face of traditional expectations.”—Fortune
“Savor explores the ways identity often butts up against tradition and what it means to savor life despite everything.”—Eater (“Fall’s 10 Essential Food Reads”)
“An exceptional account of the life of an exceptional woman, so talented and gone too soon. Savor is moving, heartbreaking, and defiantly hopeful.”—Mohsin Hamid, New York Times bestselling author of The Last White Man
“James Beard Award–winning chef Ali delivers a powerful ode to family and food in her posthumous memoir. . . . This portrait of a remarkable talent whose life was cut short is a tough one to forget.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This book shines with the author’s irrepressible spirit, positivity, and tenacity. . . . Her love of food and people and belief in the future are evident throughout the text. Ali’s adoration of the art of cooking is apparent, infectious, and often moving.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)