St. Lucian National Fails In Bid To Win ‘Top Chef’

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Chef Nina Compton, second from r. and her team of sous chefs before the competition's finale. (Bravo TV image)
Chef Nina Compton, second from r. and her team of sous chefs before the competition’s finale. (Bravo TV image)

News Americas, NEW ORLEANS, LA, Thurs. Feb. 6, 2014: For the first time in the 11 season history of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” competition, a Caribbean national was in the finale of the showdown, but last night she failed to take the win and was forced instead to settle for second place.

Chef Nina Compton, the daughter of late St. Lucia Prime Minister, John Compton and the Chef de Cuisine at the Scarpetta restaurant at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau hotel definitely gave it her best shot but seemingly overreached.

Instead of giving the judges four courses in the pop up restaurant challenge, she stretched her team at ‘Canoun’ restaurant, which was after her dad, to send out six courses. In the end she paid the price as her dessert of Chocolate Zeppole with Macadamia Nuts and Passion Fruit Anglaise and third course of Swordfish with Squash Puree, Braised Kale, and Smoked Onion Jus were deemed not up to par compared to her competitor, Chef Nicholas Elmi.

“It sucks… I’m disappointed. Nobody likes to come in second place but I’m a role model for people across St. Lucia now,” said Compton after Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi announced the Philadelphia-born Elmi as the winner.

However, Compton’s crudo dish of Tuna and Escolar Tartar With Tomato Water and Jalapeno was deemed as packing way “more punch” than Elmi’s and her baby goat dish was called “sublime” by a panel of judges that included the famed Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Emeril Lagasse.

Lakshmi and co-host and restaurateur, Tom Colicchio, admitted it was the closest competition in the history of the show.

“This is the closest finale I’ve ever experienced,” Lakshmi said minutes before the final judgment as Colicchio chimed: “This was by far the closest decision we ever had to make.”

Scarpetta-Executive-Chef-Nina-Compton
Scarpetta ExecutiveChef, Nina-Compton.

“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.”
Compton had the support of the entire island of St. Lucia including its Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony who had noted: “Nina Compton has made Saint Lucia proud. She has taken the United States of America and the rest of the television world by storm in her quest to become America’s Top TV Chef.”

And on Wednesday night, The St Lucia Tourist Board, still congratulated Compton on her second place 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 extolled 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.”