St. Lucia native Nina Compton fell in love with New Orleans while filming BRAVO’s Top Chef Season 11: New Orleans (she grabbed the runner-up spot and was voted fan favorite). In 2015, she returned to the city to open Compère Lapin at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery. Since then, the requests for reservations have been non-stop. The success of Compere Lapin lead Compton to open a second restaurant, Bywater American Bistro, in the spring of 2018.
Trained in the French tradition at the Culinary Institute of America, Nina mixes the rich culinary traditions of New Orleans with those of her Caribbean roots. She was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s "Best New Chefs 2017.” Along with receiving a rave review from The New York Times, Compère Lapin was named “Best New Restaurant” by both New Orleans Magazine and The Times-Picayune. And then in 2018, she took home the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for "Best Chef: South" (she had been named a finalist for the same award the previous year).
Nina began her career at Daniel in New York City, alongside Chef Daniel Boulud. From there, she joined Norman Van Aken in Miami at Norman’s. Next up, was a stint with Philippe Ruiz at Palme d’Or at the historic Biltmore Hotel. Then Nina moved to Casa Casuarina in Miami Beach where she rose to the rank of executive chef. Before settling in New Orleans, she was chef de cuisine at the Italian restaurant Scarpetta at Fontainebleau Miami Beach. There the “Gnocchi Queen” worked with celebrity chef and restaurateur Scott Conant.
Food for Thought: Nina is the daughter of the late Sir John George Melvin Compton, three-time prime minister of St. Lucia. She also serves as the culinary ambassador for the island country.