Two sisters are helping redefine and give real purpose and meaning to the rebranding of the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival now- Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival. And they are putting up a united front.
Chef Nina Compton and her sister Fiona Compton will make their presence felt at this year’s Festival, one of three of the biggest events in Saint Lucia. The others, Carnival and Jounen Kweyol.
On Sunday the STAR caught up with them at a welcome reception in honour of Nina who arrived here from Miami. This was her first visit to Saint Lucia following her success on Bravo TV’s Top Chef as a finalist and fan favourite.
Fiona Compton was glowing as she welcomed her sister along with her mom, niece and tourism officials at the VIP Lounge, Hewanorra Airport . “I’m so proud of her,” she later told the STAR with a warm sincere smile. “Just imagine we grew up fighting over the remote with me wanting to watch cartoons, she wanting to watch Emeril. And to think now that Emeril is admiring her. It’s amazing,” Fiona gushed.
Not only is Fiona Compton excited about having her sister home, she is equally ecstatic about participating in tonight’s Hot Couture at The Johnsons Centre, Rodney Bay. “I really want to represent for Saint Lucia at the event,” among the other designers she says. Asked what one can expect from her at the fashion event; “Lots of colour,” was her reply. “I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to colour so I will definitely be keeping it vibrant but I have added some metallic,” she revealed of her Paradise Prints line.
Relating her family success to good genes is something she quickly dismisses. “It has to do with how our parents raised us and how they were very supportive of what we did. My father as a high achiever not just in politics but in whatever he did also motivated us and having a strong mother there for us also helped,” Fiona says.
Chef Nina concurs. “Mom and dad raised us in a way that we were allowed to be who we are and explore our passion and what we really wanted to become,” she states.
She too is excited about being back home and the opportunity to meet the many Saint Lucians who supported her.
“I am so excited to meet the people and to say thank you to all those who voted for me, messaged me, it just feels great,” she says.
Nina is also thankful for the opportunity afforded her by the government to be the island’s first culinary ambassador. “I was thrilled when I was approached. I feel very honoured. This is the first one so I want to make sure that I do it right and I really want to put Saint Lucia on the map. I want to inspire the youth and show them that anything is possible if you believe in yourself ad follow the right path.”
Nina Compton told the STAR that she would also like to champion and showcase local ingredients while here. “We can do more with the breadfruit, dasheen, fresh fish, coconut oil and other local ingredients,” she says. She went on to recall her local favourites; fried breadfruit, green fig and salt-fish and souse. “These things always hit a soft spot for me and bring back true memories of Saint Lucia and growing up,” Nina explained.
During her visit to Saint Lucia Chef Nina will not only meet fans at the Derek Walcott Square (Wednesday May 7) but is also expected to be part of a culinary showcase on Saturday May 10 during the main-stage jazz & arts event at Pigeon island. She is also expected to visit her Alma Mater, the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School.
“That was where I started F&B and it opened my eyes to cooking,” she says. She went on to acknowledge that this is what moulded her as a chef. Nina is also looking forward to seeing her sis’ collection at Hot Couture tonight. “We haven’t spent time together recently so this experience will be even more gratifying,” she says.
Both Fiona and Nina are expected to return to the US soon where the designer is anticipating some major breakthroughs in the entertainment industry. As for Nina—look out for her Starbucks commercial soon!