Local chef offering virtual cooking classes

Sara Bradley, owner of Paducah’s freight house, preps a to-go order in her restaurant’s kitchen Thursday evening. Bradley, a finalist on the cooking competition show “Top Chef,” will begin offering virtual cooking classes this week to teach people how to make some of her restaurant’s house favorites.

Fans of one local restaurant’s unique cuisine are in luck as downtown eatery freight house’s owner — “Top Chef” finalist and Paducah native Sara Bradley — has started offering virtual cooking classes.

Bradley has been posting cooking how-to’s online via social media for some time now, but she wanted to be able to do something more in depth.

Beginning on Dec. 10, the chef will be instructing participants on how to make some of her restaurant’s house favorites — fried chicken, almost famous biscuits, standing rib roast, truffled potatoes, spiced latkes and apple date butter, among others.

“This is just a way to do something interactive while also, at the same time, still being physically distant and safe,” Bradley told the Sun. “Everybody’s looking for a way to do that right now.”

Upcoming learning opportunities posted on www.sarabradley.com/ current-classes, range from $35 to $70. All classes will take place via Zoom. Upon purchasing the class, people will receive a link to download their ingredients and after the class each participant will receive a download link so that they can keep the video to take notes off of or just as a digital keepsake.

The end goal of every course will be for the participants to sit down and eat what they just learned to cook along with Bradley.

“That’s part of the whole experience. I always want for people to at the end of the class to be able to have dinner,” she said. “It’s not something you make and then the next day you do it. They’ll have made something.”

All class purchases will benefit freight house, with a portion going to directly aid employees of the restaurant that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are at limited capacity, which means limited staff, which means limited hours,” she said. “The government hasn’t done anything to help all of the employees out this time around so we’re going to continue to do it to try and help our employees out any way we can.”

Her restaurant recently reopened after a two-plus week shutdown, now offering limited on-site dining in freight house’s heated outdoor patio. Bradley will continue to offer carryout during business hours, which run from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Bradley plans to continue leading cooking classes in this format “as long as the demand is there.” Future plans include a pie making tutorial with Bradley and her mother for Mother’s Day, a grilling guide for Father’s Day and vegetarian classes, but she has a long list of ideas. Anyone interested in organizing a private lesson for a specific group can contact Bradley via her website. The chef hopes that teaching like this helps to push her in new and interesting directions.

“I’ve worked in the industry for a really long time and I’m always trying to find stuff that is new and different and that pushes me. I think that this will push me to make food more accessible,” Bradley said. “There’s stuff you can get at freight house that would take you three days to try and make at home, but I can make a pared down version of that for someone to be able to feed their family.

“I think it’ll be a cool experience all around.”