First it was Anya.
Then it was Tessanne.
And now the latest islandista bringing Caribbean flavour to the finals of prime time reality television is Chef Nina Compton who has made it to the top 3 of Bravo’s Top Chef!
It’s a huge moment for the St. Lucian native who is the chef de cuisine at Miami hot spot Scarpetta. Rocking her signature Pitons earrings, Nina has outclassed her competitors from the very start of this season which is based in New Orleans.
She has mastered its flavourful, French-influenced cuisine and shown no fear, even when faced with unusual ingredients such as turtle meat. Her domination started from the very first episode.
Food blog Foodie Gossip humorously commented that by the end of the first episode, where cheftestants were rewarded with Mardi Gras-style beads by the judges:
“Nina Compton with her curried meat balls looks like Mrs. T, while you can count the beads on people like Ramon and Patty with one hand.”
And so it has continued nearly every week, with Nina showing herself to be a cut above the rest.
As huge as this is for Nina and her adopted hometown of Miamia, you could arguably say it’s just as big a moment for her countrymen who are used to seeing the famous Compton name in a very different context.
You see, Nina is also the daughter of St. Lucia’s late Prime Minister and Father of Independence, Sir John Compton and her family is steeped in politics. Her father actually died in office after returning from a 10 year ‘retirement’ from elective politics to lead the United Workers Party (which he founded) to a shock victory in 2006 when he was 80 years old.
Sir John’s first cousin is the former Prime Minister of neighbouring St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sir James Mitchell, who served as leader of that country for 16 years.
Oh and Nina’s sister Jeannine Compton-Antoine also has a political background, having run for and won the seat formerly held by their father in 2007 before losing in the 2011 election.
So yes, the Comptons are well known in St. Lucia for politics and people either love or loathe them, depending on which side of the island’s fractious political scene they are on – flambeaus (UWP) or en rouge (the now ruling St. Lucia Labour Party).
However, Nina’s Top Chef rise has brought both sides together for the moment at least, as the whole country is rallying behind Nina. Local hotel Bay Gardens has even started hosting ‘Top Chef Wednesdays’ where people can lime, watch the show and cheer on Nina.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, who was defeated by Nina’s father in 2006, has thrown his support behind her and expressed hope that the two part finale (Wednesday January 29th and Wednesday February 5th) will bring an early Independence Day gift for St. Lucia (which celebrates on February 22nd).
“Nina has all of Saint Lucia supporting her and we certainly wish she wins the Top Chef award. She has already made us proud and we will be elated if she wins that prestigious title. I am sure she can count on all Saint Lucians, at home and abroad, to support her. Nina has come thus far because of her talent and passion for cooking. Winning the Top Chef award can be her best Independence Anniversary gift to Saint Lucia, 35 years after her father led our country into nationhood.”
The Islandista team will certainly be cheering her on as well!