A post by Peter Jordens.
St Lucia-born Chef Nina Compton Millar finished second in 11th season of Top Chef on February 5, 2014 following a nerve-wracking finale episode. “This is the closest finale I’ve ever experienced,” host Padma Lakshmi said minutes before the final judgment. “This was by far the closest decision we ever had to make,” co-host and head judge Tom Colicchio said. “Nick [Elmi] clearly cooked better that night, but Nina clearly cooked better all season.” Today called it a “shocking” decision and Entertainment Weekly said that “there were plenty of objective indications that the wrong person won.”
Compton [whose father was former St Lucian Prime Minister John Compton], who is currently Chef de Cuisine at the Scarpetta restaurant at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau Hotel, was aiming to be the first Caribbean-born chef to win the popular Bravo network television series. Compton, who had wowed the judges from the beginning of the season with bold flavors derived from her Caribbean roots, formal training, and tenure in the kitchen at Scarpetta, had become a fan favorite. She was gracious following the victory by Chef Nicholas Elmi, who owns Laurel restaurant in Philadelphia. “I’m a role model for people in St Lucia now,” Compton said. “You can come from a small island and make it to the finale in Top Chef.” The evening ended on a sweet note for both chefs, with Nina winning the fan favorite competition (and the $10,000 that goes with the popularity title) and that evening’s poll, which asked viewers to vote on who they wanted to win. Compton won that by a landslide 80 percent.
The St Lucia Tourist Board congratulated Compton on her finish. “Although not emerging Top Chef, Nina’s performance is being celebrated not only by herself and her immediate family, but indeed all of Saint Lucia and particularly by the hospitality industry,” the SLTB said. “Over the years we have consistently extoled the awarding-winning culinary delights of Saint Lucia, as exemplified in our indigenous recipes so masterfully brought to life by Nina, week after week, throughout her presence on the show.”
This post is a combination of the following articles: http://www.caribjournal.com/2014/02/05/nina-compton-finishes-second-in-top-chef-season-finale, http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shortorder/2014/02/top_chef_nicholas_elmi_nina_comptonscarpettas_nina_compton_top_ch.php, http://stluciastar.com/sltb-salutes-americas-top-chef-finalist, http://www.today.com/entertainment/top-chef-judges-defend-shocking-finale-decision-2D12067588 and http://tvrecaps.ew.com/recap/top-chef-new-orleans-finale.
Those wishing to sample Nina Compton’s food can find her at Scarpetta restaurant, Fontainebleau Hotel, 4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, Florida 33140, (305) 674-4660, https://www.fontainebleau.com/web/dining/scarpetta.