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A Pakistani Chef Shows Her Chops in New York



Few women become top chefs in New York City. But Fatima Ali has done so. She is the assistant chef at Café Centro. She may be the only non-American female chef at any of 70 top New York restaurants. Ms. Ali grew up in Pakistan. She says her training in America has taught her a lot about food.

FATIMA ALI: "There's so many things that I have been exposed to in the U.S. that I may not have been exposed to in Pakistan, like the plethora of ingredients that are available here. But it's been really interesting, taking what I have learned in America and then whenever I go back home to visit, and cooking for my family and friends with the ingredients that I love from there." In July, Fatima Ali competed with other chefs on the Food Network TV show "Chopped." She won the top prize of $10,000.

FATIMA ALI: "The fact that I won, I suppose was such wonderful validation, for all, like, the sacrifices that my family has made, that I have made, to put myself through school, and to be away from home for so long. It felt like it was all really worth it. And the biggest thing for me was to inspire other young Pakistani girls to follow their dreams." Jan Hoffmann is the executive chef at Café Centro.

JAN HOFFMANN: "She has great potential, and I give her another two to three years, and she definitely will be a master chef." Fatima Ali hopes to return to Pakistan to create services where poor families enjoy low-cost, healthy meals, and where young people can learn cooking and other job skills. I'm Barbara Klein.