Restaurant News & Reviews

‘Top Chef’ Kentucky fans: Here’s your chance to taste that famous matzo ball soup

The Lexington Jewish Food Festival is bringing a taste of “Top Chef” back to Kentucky.

The fourth annual festival, on Sunday, Sept. 8, at Temple Adath Israel, will be serving the matzo ball soup that propelled chef Sara Bradley of Paducah into the finale of Season 16 of the Bravo cooking competition. Most of the season’s episodes were filmed in Kentucky, with the finals moving to Macau, China.

Bradley, who grew up Jewish in Kentucky, decided to make her mother’s matzo ball soup after “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi challenged the final four “cheftestants” to “look to your own heritage and make a dish reflective of that – but with Chinese ingredients.”

Bradley’s recipe calls for bok choy, kombu (dried seaweed), black garlic, ginger, shiitake mushrooms and Szechuan peppercorns, along with more traditional ingredients.

“I’ve had plenty of versions of matzo ball soup over the years, but I gotta say that was fantastic,” “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio said during the show.

The temple will be serving a vegetarian version of Bradley’s soup, which she often does at her Paducah restaurant, The Freight House, Bradley said during an Aug. 11 visit to the temple’s kitchen. She stopped by while she was in Lexington to do a cooking demonstration at the Railbird Festival at Keeneland.

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In addition to Bradley’s matzo ball soup, new items on the menu for the Lexington Jewish Food Festival include bourekas, a savory hand pie that’s a common street food in Israel (the festival’s will be filled with spinach and feta cheese); cabbage rolls, the recipe for which comes from a cookbook published by the temple in the early 1980s; and egg creams, a cold drink that was a soda fountain staple in New York City (despite its name, it doesn’t contain eggs or cream).

Popular items from previous food festivals, including knishes, latkes, corned beef sandwiches, Israeli salad, Syrian meatballs, borscht and blintzes, remain on the menu.

Tickets for the food festival are $20; children younger than 12 are allowed to share an adult’s ticket. Each ticket contains 20 squares; patrons choose the foods they’d like to sample, each of which is assigned a value of 1 to 4 squares.

Food festival hours are 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weather permitting, there will be additional seating on the temple’s lawn and an outdoor activity area for children. The temple is at 124 North Ashland Avenue.

If you go: Jewish Food Festival

When: Sept. 8, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Temple Adath Israel, 124 North Ashland Avenue

Tickets: $20; children younger than 12 are allowed to share an adult’s ticket.


Call: 859-269-2979