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Family of 'Top Chef' star Fatima Ali honors her dying wish in the sweetest way

"With her daughter in mind, her mom followed the breadcrumbs Fati left to a place where love and joy is abundant..."
/ Source: TODAY

Chef Fatima Ali's loved ones are paying tribute to her legacy, one memorable meal at a time.

Family members of the late "Top Chef" finalist, who died in January at the age 29 after battling Ewing’s sarcoma (a rare form of cancer), are honoring Ali by traveling the world on a food tour that the late chef dreamed of venturing on herself before she passed.

Image: Top Chef - Season 15
Fatima Ali's family members are honoring her by traveling the world on the food tour she dreamed of taking herself. Tommy Garcia/Bravo

In a photo series shared via Ali's Instagram account on Monday, Ali's mom and other relatives are seen posing with chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana, a restaurant with three Michelin stars in Modena, Italy. Additional photos show them cooking with Bottura's staff behind the scene. The award-winning eatery was the first place Ali had planned to visit on her tour.

"She talked passionately about wanting to see Italy, and of course, eat her way through it," Ali's family wrote in a lengthy caption.

After Italy, the group intends to travel to several other countries that were on Ali's list.

"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," they explained.

Ali's mom "followed the breadcrumbs" her daughter left "to a place where love and joy is abundant, #osteriafrancescana at @casamarialuigia," the post reads.

The family said that chef Bottura and his wife, Lara, were both very hospitable and "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."

Bottura was "deeply moved" by Ali's story, and "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."

"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," they added.

Ali, who appeared on season 15 of Bravo’s hit reality show, was first diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancer that affects bones and soft tissue, in 2017. In early 2018, after undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, the chef told fans that her her doctors had declared her cancer free.

But in October of 2018, Ali penned an emotional essay for Bon Appetit, and revealed that the cancer had returned "with a vengeance." At that time, she had been given one year to live.

In Ali's moving essay, which won a posthumous James Beard Foundation award, she shared her desire to make the most of her remaining days.

"I am desperate to overload my senses in the coming months, making reservations at the world’s best restaurants, reaching out to past lovers and friends, and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before," she wrote.

Image: Top Chef - Season 15
Ali and fellow contestant Claudette Wilkins in a scene from season 15 of "Top Chef."Paul Trantow/Bravo

The skilled chef's memory is being celebrated by those who loved her and got to know her while cooking with her on the show.

In May, four months after Ali's passing, her fellow "Top Chef" contestants reunited with host Padma Lakshmi to honor Ali at a dinner with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

“While it was so comforting to be with her family, it brought back all of the raw feelings that I had just very recently managed to somewhat put away,” Lakshmi shared on Instagram.

The Emmy Award-winning host also congratulated her late friend on her writing honor.

Said Lakshmi, "I couldn’t be more proud of you, grasshopper."