Sara Bradley

Freight House & Bravo's Top Chef
Sara Bradley
Participating Events
8:00 PM - 11:00 PM Friday, May 3
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Saturday, May 4
Sara Bradley

Sara Bradley learned to cook from her mother and grandmother, who each showed her the bounty of their Western Kentucky region and how to live by the maxim “waste not, want not.” She credits these strong women — and her Jewish & Appalachian heritage — as the influence for her foundational food philosophy. Chef Bradley’s dishes highlight traditional Southern flavors and techniques, with a large helping of international inspiration. 

Chef Bradley has cooked professionally for 20 years including for Michelin-starred chefs in New York and Chicago. In 2015, she opened her own restaurant, freight house, back home in Paducah, Kentucky. She’s since made a name for herself worldwide as a two-time finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef television series, including season 20’s Top Chef: World All Stars, where Bradley cooked her way through London and Paris against series winners and finalists from around the globe.

Bradley believes food is more than just for eating. Food has many stories to tell at freight house, situated in a 1920s historic vegetable depot. There, Chef Bradley serves an enthusiastic and loyal clientele with innovative, grounded dishes. Her mission is to provide fresh, local, and in-season ingredients by partnering with farmers throughout the region, most within a day’s drive. Her commitment to sustainability ranges from utilizing ingredients to their fullest to serving beer on draft and in cans because there’s no way to recycle glass in town. She’s worked to preserve Kentucky’s waterways by serving invasive Kentucky Silver Carp in multiple ways on the menu, even showcasing it at James Beard Foundation dinners.

Recognized as one of America’s great bourbon bars by The Bourbon Review and Whiskey Advocate, freight house boasts an extensive bourbon collection and an innovative craft cocktail menu. Customers can find new favorites to try or enjoy a pour from numerous vintage selections. Craft cocktails change seasonally and feature local and house-made ingredients.

At freight house, Bradley works to build an equitable and compassionate work environment that promotes work/life balance. As the mom of Lula, 4, and Hazel, 1, Bradley knows how important that is and believes parents in the industry shouldn’t have to choose between career and family. She is especially passionate about supporting breastfeeding and pumping parents in the workforce because those unique challenges often force them to leave the career they love.

Outside of the restaurant, Bradley helps raise cattle with her husband and is involved with multiple nonprofit causes including Western Kentucky tornado relief efforts, the local Easter Seals board, the Convention & Visitors Bureau Board, and training at local high schools for students with autism spectrum disorders. Bradley participated in the James Beard Foundation’s Bootcamp for Policy and Change in 2021.