Top Chef fan favorite and Scarpetta's former chef de cuisine Nina Compton is leaving Miami for New Orleans. The chef announced her move on Instagram last week, with the hashtags #likemovingmoving #NOLA #whodat.
The St. Lucia native who has called Miami home for the past 14 years is not leaving without a proper goodbye. She has decided to host one last farewell pop-up dinner at Cafe Mistral in South Beach, saying, "I actually haven't cooked that much in Miami lately because I've been traveling, and people were asking to try my food. I decided to have one more dinner so people can come by, eat, and have a fun time. This time should be a celebration of friendship. That's how I want it to be."
Compton, who will leaves in the spring to open her own restaurant, says that her imminent departure hasn't quite hit home and that she'll miss her many friends and colleagues. "I'm leaving at a time when Miami is really being recognized for its food scene. There are so many fantastic Miami restaurants, and I'm happy I was a part of that."
Coincidentally, Compton, whose season of Top Chef was set in New Orleans, hadn't been to the Crescent City before taping the Bravo culinary competition. "My husband and I were going to go there for our honeymoon. Once I was there, I was surprised how much New Orleans reminded me of St. Lucia, with its blend of French, English, and African culture. The food and music are just amazing."
Compton's pop-up farewell dinner is scheduled for February 16 at Cafe Mistral. The four-course dinner, served from 6 to 10 p.m., costs $75 per person.
Compton says the dishes will be a mix of old favorites and new items she's trying. Some of them might even be on her new NOLA menu. To make reservations, call 786-626-8103.