Nina's Season

Nina's Season

Thursday, May 14, 2020

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The last few months have been a PR dream for St Lucian native and notable American chef Nina Compton. Her New Orleans restaurants Compère Lapin (opened in 2015) and Bywater American Bistro (2018) have secured for her numerous accolades including being named one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs 2017 and Best Chef: South by the James Beard Foundation in 2018.

Here's a round-up of a few of Compton's mentions in the press this month.


Caribbean Beat

Trinidadian journalist and food writer Franka Philip profiles Compton in a three-page spread in the March/April issue of Caribbean Airlines' in-flight magazine Caribbean Beat. Philip's piece details essential parts of Compton's life, from growing up as the daughter of former St Lucian PM Sir John Compton (who never gave up his profession as a farmer while in office), to her time in the kitchens at Sandals St Lucia, to her meteoric rise to fame pursuant, and her appearance on Top Chef in 2013, where she emerged runner-up.

In celebration of the recent International Women's Day, the popular New Orleans website ran profiles on local women in the hospitality industry with whom readers should celebrate the day. There, a part of the “International Women's Day: Celebrate NOLA's Talented Women in Hospitality” feature, was Compton whose two restaurants were extolled. Fun fact: Compère Lapin is the first New Orleans restaurant to receive the prestigious Spirited Award by the Tales of The Cocktail Foundation.

Another post on the website — “The Best Meatless Specials to Try for Lent” — shared meat-free dishes on the menus of New Orleans' best restaurants. According to the post, Compton's Bywater American Bistro is offering “fried Gulf oysters with oyster gravy and jasmine rice; spaghetti pomodoro; farro risotto with Maitake mushroom and minted bread crumbs; pickled shrimp with celery, buttermilk and trout roe; and steamed red snapper with broccoli rabe and Crystal hot sauce hollandaise”. Meat-free has never looked more delish!


The Washington Post

In these perilous times, we need as many tips from professionals to safely cope. The Washington Post saw it prudent to share coroniavirus pantry strategies from some of America's notable chefs and television personalities. For Compton, it's important that she stocks up with copious amounts of snacks including pickles, nuts, charcuterie, cheese and a few “Totino's Supreme frozen pizzas”. She suggests stocking the pantry with dried pasta, rice, and dried beans, from which numerous dishes can be made, and ensuring that frozen veggies and spices are on hand.


Courier Today

A part of the USA Today network, Courier Today ran a feature on the Lee Initiative's Women Chefs programme that offers young female chefs mentorship and tools aiming to “bridge the culinary industry's gender imbalance”. Apart from cooking at the famed James Beard House in New York City, another of the programme's perks is that each participant will spend a week training under one of five professional chef mentors. On the list, no surprises here, is Nina Compton. She's a prime example of one who sends the elevator back down and is committed to the upliftment of women.

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