(CNN) — New Orleans is a city with a rich history and tradition, but it’s also a place with an evolving identity. Though many chefs have contributed to its much-loved culinary culture, Nina Compton is among the strongest forces representing the new guard.
As the daughter of St. Lucia’s three-time former Prime Minister, Sir John George Melvin Compton, Nina spent her time growing up between St. Lucia and England before leaving the Caribbean to study at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
After training in the kitchens of renowned chefs such as Daniel Boulud in New York and Norman Van Aken and Philippe Ruiz in Miami, she finally made her mark while working at Scott Conant’s Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach when she starred as a finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”
CNN’s Family Meal documentary traces the stories of four chefs — Leah Chase, Emeril Lagasse, Donald Link and Nina Compton — in the extraordinary city of New Orleans.
Bacchanal is home to a lively courtyard in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward.
EJ Ruane at Bacchanal
As a testament to its greatness, the bar earned a 2018 nomination for Outstanding Bar Program from the James Beard Foundation Awards. “Bacchanal is one of my favorite local spots,” Compton says. “It’s very close to where I live, and I love the laid-back ambiance, great wine, cheese and charcuterie and live music.”
It’s like your local supermarket but better. Since 1960, this small Southern family-owned grocer has grown from a humble market to a gourmet chain, with locations scattered along the Gulf from Louisiana to Alabama.
Hansen’s Sno-Bliz has been serving frozen treats since 1939.
New Orleans doesn’t just get hot in the summer — it gets sweltering. To cool off, Compton picks up sno-balls from this third-generation sweet treat spot. Along with classic root beer and wild cherry flavors, the shaved ice shop has a number of specialty syrups such as ginger-cayenne, honey-lavender and cardamom.
New Orleans Jazz Market
“New Orleans Jazz Market is a great place to catch some of the incredible music New Orleans has to offer,” Compton says. “You can see top names, jazz trios and more. And the space is beautiful.”
For local seafood, Compton turns to her friend Donald Link’s award-winning restaurant for cheffed-up area catch on the coal grill and raw bar.
Carly Fisher is an award-winning journalist and author whose work has been featured in publications like GQ, CNN, Fodors Travel, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Brides, Saveur, Edible and NBC. She lives and works in Brooklyn, where she is currently working on her first book through The Countryman Press due 2019.