May 26, 2022 - Food and Drink

Detroit chef Sarah Welch on her Top Chef journey and restaurant

Sarah Welch in Top Chef's Season Premiere of Top Chef Houston

Sarah Welch in "Top Chef's" season premiere of "Top Chef Houston." Photo: David Moir/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

"Top Chef" contestant and Detroit restaurateur Sarah Welch recently tied the show's record for most Last Chance Kitchen wins and earned herself a spot back in the main competition.

Context: Chefs who are eliminated from Bravo's "Top Chef" compete in "Last Chance Kitchen" for a spot back in the main competition.

Flashback: Growing up, Welch split time between Jamaica and Michigan. While in Jamaica, one of her main activities was cooking.

  • "You would go to these little shops with whatever change you had, you [would] buy flour. You'd go to the fishing boats, you'd see what was cheap there and then you would make dinner and that was kind of like your activity for the evening," Welch tells Axios.

Welch later spent time working in kitchens in New York, Ann Arbor and Detroit, where she cooked at Mani and Republic. She says that her time working in kitchens with locally-sourced food and learning international techniques has helped her cooking "become this weird hybrid."

Details: Welch says that while her eight wins in "Last Chance Kitchen" were stressful, she enjoyed it more than the main "Top Chef" competition.

  • "I was grateful for the path I took through 'Last Chance Kitchen' because I think that earned me a lot of credibility with other chefs but also with myself."

Zoom in: Welch's Detroit restaurant and butcher shop Marrow focuses on local sourcing through relationships with farms in and around the city and state.

  • The restaurant also focuses on its employees by "changing the equity structure, the way that we compensate and treat people to create a culture that we can all be a part of for a really long time," Welch explained.

What we're watching: After earning a spot back in the competition, Welch survived two more rounds to make it into the final four, including her first elimination challenge win last week.

  • Start with episode 4 of "Last Chance Kitchen" to watch the local chef's journey.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Detroit.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Detroit stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Detroit.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more