News and Music Discovery
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Paducah chef returns to ‘Top Chef’ competition

Bravo TV

Paducah chef and restaurateur Sara Bradley is returning for the new season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” television show, which premieres Thursday, to compete against some of the show’s most notable contestants from around the world.

Bradley was the runner-up on Season 16 of “Top Chef,” which took place in Kentucky and highlighted Kentucky cuisines. Now, she’s one of just four American contestants on Season 20, a “World All-Star” edition of the program featuring 16 “cheftestants” that have previously won or been finalists on the cooking competition show.

The possibility of getting invited back is one that Bradley’s been thinking about since her second place finish. She said the decision was an obvious one and her family already knew her answer.

“When they called this time, and they said, ‘Would you want to do it?’ You know, I said, ‘Yes,’” Bradley said. “The guy that had asked me is like, ‘You don't need to, like, discuss it or think about it?’ And I was like, ‘Nope, we have discussed it. We have thought about it, we have put it out into the universe that I want to do Top Chef: All-Stars. And now you guys are calling the answer's yes.’”

The Paducah native has been cooking professionally in kitchens across the United States for 20 years, working in multiple Michelin-starred chefs in New York and Chicago before returning to western Kentucky in 2015. She is now the chief proprietor and chef at freight house in downtown Paducah.

Her cuisine features elements of Southern and Midwestern cuisine. Bradley said being brought up as Jewish in a small Kentucky town with grandparents from Latvia, Prussia and eastern Kentucky has inspired her to put flavors from around the world into her cooking.

Kentucky cuisine, Bradley said, was built over generations “out of necessity” and includes things like mutton barbecue and fish fries and traditions like canning and pickling crops. All of these are elements of what would become the farm-to-table movement. Being able to represent Kentucky and these traditions is important to Bradley.

“Kentucky as a whole, you know, sometimes we have such a bad rap. But we are a state full of amazing food and full of culture and art,” Bradley said. “I think it's really important to have someone who wants to kind of be on stage and show that there's a lot more to Kentucky than just kind of what most people think of. Most people think of us as backward hillbillies. We're not that at all.”

New episodes of “Top Chef” will air on Bravo on Thursdays at 8 p.m. CST.

“Cheftestants” in this season will compete to be crowned “Top Chef” World All-Star. The 16 chefs will compete in various challenges in England for a spot in the France-filmed finale. This season is the first time the flagship iteration of “Top Chef” will take place entirely outside of the United States.

The winner will take home a grand prize of $250,000, will be featured in the magazine Food & Wine, and will appear at the 40th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado.

Beginning March 16, “Top Chef” companion series “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen” will be available weekly on after “Top Chef” airs. “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen” will feature eliminated contestants from this season who are working to cook their way back into the “Top Chef” competition.

“Top Chef” episodes will be available on Peacock the day after the new episode airs on television.

More information about this season is available on the Bravo website.

Hannah Saad is the Assistant News Director for WKMS. Originally from Michigan, Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree in news media from The University of Alabama in 2021. Hannah moved to western Kentucky in the summer of 2021 to start the next chapter of her life after graduation. Prior to joining WKMS in March 2023, Hannah was a news reporter at The Paducah Sun. Her goal at WKMS is to share the stories of the region from those who call it home. Outside of work, Hannah enjoys exploring local restaurants, sports photography, painting, and spending time with her fiancé and two dogs.
Related Content