cover image Savor


Fatima Ali, with Tarajia Morrell. Ballantine, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-35519-0

James Beard Award–winning chef Ali delivers a powerful ode to family and food in her posthumous memoir. Ali recalls her childhood interest in cooking as she battled cultural traditions: “Instinctually I always knew that I wanted something different from the life waiting for me in Pakistan.” In high school, Ali’s teachers encouraged her to apply to an Ivy League college, but her mother, Farezeh Durrani, insisted that cooking was her daughter’s calling. Their relationship temporarily broke down when Ali came out as queer, but Durrani and Ali’s brother supported Ali as she went to culinary school, became the first Pakistani woman to win the cooking competition show Chopped, became a fan favorite on Top Chef, and launched pop-up restaurants in Lahore and New York City. Her plans to open her own restaurant were derailed by a cancer diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma in 2017. After undergoing chemotherapy and surgery, Ali went into remission, but in the fall of 2018, her cancer returned. Doctors told 29-year-old Ali she had a year left to live, but she died four months later. Ali writes with an irresistible passion for food, friendship, and community, and contributions by Durrani beautifully complement Ali’s account. This portrait of a remarkable talent whose life was cut short is a tough one to forget. Agent: Jay Mandel, WME. (Oct.)