Sara Bradley shared how her Top Chef second chance was more than redemption, interview

TOP CHEF -- "Fin" Episode 2014 -- Pictured: Sara Bradley -- (Photo by: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo)
TOP CHEF -- "Fin" Episode 2014 -- Pictured: Sara Bradley -- (Photo by: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo) /

As one of the three Top Chef Season 20 finalists, Sara Bradley was the last woman chef standing. While each chef earned their spot due to the impressive food that received the judges’ praise, there is something to be said about her Top Chef World All-Stars journey both in and out of the kitchen. Regardless of her final outcome, Sara walked away a winner in many people’s eyes.

Returning to Top Chef Season 20, Sara Bradley took a risk. Although there was a desire to have title Top Chef winner attached to her resume, the reality is that she was able to showcase an important element outside of the kitchen. Throughout the season, she shared how her role as a working mom is an important part of the conversation. In some ways, those moments are a reminder to many women that they can find ways to celebrate themselves, their talents, and hard work while not overlooking being mom and being an example for her children.

When asked about this topic, Sara shared. “I didn’t have children until later in life. When you have babies, you gain so much but you lose a little bit of who you are. I think that this was a way to take a little bit of myself back. By doing that, I was able to be a role model for my children and show what we are capable as parents.”

At the same time, Sara understood the opportunity that Top Chef World All-Stars presented. She said, “I wanted redemption, and it was offered. That’s not something that a lot of people have the opportunity to do. It was really important to do, and I loved every minute of it.”

Sara Bradley on Top Chef Season 20
TOP CHEF — “Fin” Episode 2014 — Pictured: Sara Bradley — (Photo by: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo) /

While returning to Top Chef was a chance at redemption, Sara’s path to the World All-Stars finale came through Last Chance Kitchen redemption. When asked about the importance of Last Chance, Sara shared, “I think that it’s not only important for the chefs and the people watching, but it is an important life lesson. You can put everything into something and sometimes it does not work out. The hardest part about Top Chef is that it is rare that people have a really bad dish. That idea was especially clear in this season.”

Sara continued to explain, “it is a great opportunity. To be able to fight and perform to get back into the competition is good for the chefs and the viewers. A few people have come back from Last Chance Kitchen. I think that it is great for show.” That idea of turning a bad day into a positive comeback is another element why Top Chef has and will continue to resonate with viewers as well as the chefs who compete.

Looking at the three Top Chef Season 20 finalists, each one was unique. Their finale meals shared their personal stories on a plate. While the approach might be different, one quality was clear in every offering. It is about the taste.

Sara Bradley on Top Chef Season 20 finale
TOP CHEF — “Fin” Episode 2014 — Pictured: Sara Bradley — (Photo by: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo) /

As Sara said, “it all boils down to whether or not your food is delicious. All the bells and whistles or how it looks are not as important as how it tastes. When the judges taste your food, that is what matters.”

Speaking to her approach at her restaurant in Kentucky, Sara said, “I chose to have a small footprint and cook with seasonal, accessible ingredients.” While that aspect is true in her restaurant, freight house, she applied that sentiment in some of the Top Chef challenges.

Whether it was the Vrbo challenge where she did greens with brisket gravy or in the mushroom challenge, where the pears played off the “grows together” concept in the soup, Sara has a great appreciation for putting flavor first.

Throughout the season, Sara said that she focuses on “doing things that felt comfortable and could be completed during the challenge time. “Even though the food that she normally cooks takes a lot of time to build those flavors, she understood that when food tastes great, it will always leave a lasting impression.

Sara said that he was “to deliver an exceptional taste every time.” It did not have to be the most extravagant or visually compelling. But, it will have the flavor that will leave people wanting more.

Overall, Sara applied her knowledge, experience, and appreciation for great ingredients in every challenge. In addition, she learned from her fellow contestants and grew from the experience.

The end result might not have been a winning redemption, but it was an impressive season. More importantly, many people are ready to book a flight to Kentucky to sit at her restaurant’s table.