As Fatima deployed her culinary prowess in top-notch kitchens of the world, she knew that she was given the opportunities that many did not have, nor thought they could even have it! Fati wanted to change that, and by putting herself out there through the media opportunities she had, she was able to show people that they too, could do it.
It is a powerful thing to see yourself reflected back from a realm you think is impossible… Benazir made it easy for Pakistanis to see how women can occupy the highest office in our country. Kamala Harris has made it easy for us to know that it is possible for someone who has an Indian background and is female can end up in the White House! Joe Biden becoming the US president has surely made all white American men nearly 70 years old know that it is possible for them to still become President and lead their country!
Fati wanted to inspire just one girl like her – who could only dream of maybe one day becoming a chef – look on, see her and think ‘Hey, look! She’s like me…if she can do it, surely I can too.’
PROFESSIONAL TRAINING FOR CHEFS
The food business, and being a ‘bawarchi’ is a real business. You can make a great career out of it if you have what it takes. Like any craft, becoming a chef too is a way of living, it is what makes the countless hours on your feet, early mornings and late nights, burns, cuts, scrapes, and sacrifices all worth something. In Pakistan, we see this as a career pathway to lift people to new levels. We want to extend the opportunity to those whose lives, and whose families lives can change if given the right support and opportunity.
After her Chopped win, Fatima started getting messages from so many South Asian girls (and boys, and moms and dads!) about how she made them proud and inspired them; how she represented them in a world that all of a sudden seemed so much more attainable. This show of love encouraged her and continued to fuel her through her successes, especially during her run at Top Chef. Fatima wanted to show them what was possible. She believed it would be enough if she inspired just one girl or boy to choose culinary arts as a career – train as chefs or food entrepreneurs and be proud of working in this field
Our Chef Training program focuses on helping lift locals up and better provide for themselves and their families. We will be targeting people from lower socio-economic backgrounds who have a requisite level of education we feel necessary to maximize the offering of the training program. At this stage, we envisage the training program will span 12-16 weeks where the participants will learn basics and go through relevant technical, educational, and hands-on sessions. Once the trainees complete the program, the Foundation will provide introductions for internship opportunities to allow practical training and give them a taste for life in the industry. This will potentially lead to future jobs, or business opportunities thereby allowing them to improve the quality of life for them and their families as well as contribute positively towards their communities in a steady, sustainable, and permanent way. Our goal is to turn an employee into an employer, help raise the tide, and in turn create more job opportunities.
From left to right: Chef Brandon Duley, Chef Logan Kendall, Chef Joseph Bott, Chef Fatima Ali
From left to right: Chef Alex, Chef Rachel, Chef Fatima Ali: Culinary Institute of America classmates
Fati loved cooking for others and showing them how easy and fulfilling it was to prepare simple, delicious meals and present them beautifully. She would teach as she created and managed Pop-Up dinners, and she would teach simply while cooking for friends!
As a part of the initiative, our team will organize one-off workshops to share relevant skills and give the culinary arts a boost by creating and providing opportunities to those in the industry as well as to the general public. Our Workshops are open to locals from various walks of life – from local farmers to restaurant owners and laypeople who wish to learn. We hope to cover a wide range of concepts and skills that were close to Fati’s heart, such as generating interest about local produce – where it comes from, how it is grown, the many creative things to do with it, food wastage and how to minimise it and so many other subject areas we think are worth starting brand new conversations about!