Sara Bradley, center, Kelsey Barnard Clark,and Eric Adjepong are Top Chef finalists. (Sara Bradley/Facebook)

(JTA) — Chef Sara Bradley of Kentucky reached the finals of Bravo’s Top Chef by making matzo ball soup with native ingredients while filming in Macau.

The four semi-finalists were encouraged by host Padma Lakshmi to “Look to your own heritage and make a dish reflective of that but with Chinese ingredients.”

And as a bonus, the semi-finalists were joined by a parent or a sibling to help them meet the challenge. Bradley’s mom, Bebe, made the trip and gave her daughter some Jewish mother cooking tips.

Bradley made a quintessentially Jewish meal of chicken thighs with matzo balls in savory mushroom consomme. The matzo meal was made out of a native cracker, but it pleased the judges.

And Bebe shared with her daughter her secret tip to lighter matzo balls…club soda.

“Sara did Kentucky so proud.” Lakshmi told her mother.

Judge Abe Conlon said that Bradley’s food “brought heritage and local ingredients into a harmonious dish.”

Bradley grew up in Paducah, Kentucky, and “Sara’s Jewish mother and Appalachian father exposed her to a wonderful culinary upbringing,” according to her bio on the Bravo Channel website. She is now the chef and proprietor at freight house, a unique southern-inspired restaurant and bourbon bar in her hometown. She noted in a recent Facebook post that she attended Camp Ben Frankel in Carbondale, Illinois.

The finals of Top Chef will air on Bravo on Thursday night.


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