As one of the culinary capitals of the United States, New Orleans is known for food rich in flavor and amazing restaurants are just around every corner. This month, Corporate Essentials is pleased to offer signature recipes created by the 2018 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef in the South, Nina Compton. Her unique cuisine is inspired by her Caribbean roots, and combines flavorful, local ingredients abundant in New Orleans, with French techniques. Find her featured recipes offered this month as a part of our Featured Chef office catering program with Martin + Fitch.

Culinary Training

Nina Compton was born and raised on the tiny island, St. Lucia, in the Caribbean. After attending high school in England, she returned home and decided to go after her dream of becoming a chef. Nina’s parents supported her pursuit and helped arrange an internship for her to learn at a friend’s hotel in Jamaica. It was there that her passion flourished and she fell in love with the creative process of working in the kitchen.

Nina soon moved to Hyde Park, New York to formally study at the Culinary Institute of America. She graduated in 2001 and began her professional career at the world-renowned restaurant, Daniel in New York City, working and learning alongside Daniel Boulud and his team. Nina then headed down south to Miami, working in some of the world’s best restaurants, including Norman van Aken’s Norman’s and Philippe Ruiz’s Palme d’Or at the Biltmore Hotel. Chef Compton eventually moved to Casa Casuarina, a private club and boutique hotel in Miami Beach, where she rose from Sous Chef to Executive Chef, really getting to showcase her talent.

A pivotal moment in Nina’s career came with the reopening of Fontainebleau Miami Beach when she joined Scott Conant’s pre-opening team as Sous Chef for his restaurant, Scarpetta. She was later appointed Chef de Cuisine and earned rave reviews for her work.

Road to Compère Lapin

Nina Compton starred on BRAVO’s Top Chef: New Orleans in 2013, where she was a finalist and quickly became a fan-favorite. During the show, Nina absolutely fell in love with the city of New Orleans, it’s rich history, and cuisine. Soon after the show, an opportunity arose with Provenance Hotels, so she picked up and moved to New Orleans to open her own venture.

Nina opened her first solo restaurant, Compère Lapin, in June 2015 at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in the Warehouse District. The menu celebrates her Carribean roots, French and Italian techniques, while also highlighting the rich, local ingredients from the Gulf and Louisiana. The restaurant’s name comes from the story of a mischievous rabbit named Compère Lapin that Nina used to read during her childhood in St. Lucia. The story features themes of exploration and play, which Chef Compton incorporates in her menu through her unique use of ingredients to create a delightful experience for each of her guests.

Both Nina Compton and Compère Lapin, have received a long list of rave reviews, awards and accomplishments. A list so long, in fact, it may take you an entire afternoon to read each one. Among the list are a rave review from the New York Times, and named by Eater National’s  “Best Restaurants in America” in 2017 and 2018. Compère Lapin was also named by Food & Wine Magazine as one of “The 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Past 40 Years”. This recognizes that Nina Compton has helped shape America’s current dining landscape, her impact greater than a passing trend.

Nina Compton has served as Culinary Ambassador to Saint Lucia since 2014, hoping to inspire and draw foodies and visitors to the island to celebrate and take part in the rich culinary history.

About Martin + Fitch

Whether an office is looking to supply food for an occasional workplace party, a regular Friday happy hour or everyday lunches, Martin + Fitch can service your needs. With menus changing daily and inspired by the seasons, Martin + Fitch can provide delicious, better-for-you meal options for your employees. In addition, from photo shoots and drop off catering, to large full-service events, Martin + Fitch can help you choose your venue, hire staff and design the space.

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Judson Kleinman

About Judson Kleinman

As the founder and CEO of Corporate Essentials, Judson set out with every intention of bringing a new meaning to the words "office culture". As leaders in the industry, his company constantly sets the bar by investing in, and improving their product offerings, technology, people and training. 20 years and 1500 clients later, Judson can proudly say that Corporate Essentials continues to positively fuel culture and allow over 150,000 employees to work happy.