Top Chef: Nicholas Elmi Wins, Nina Compton Is Fan Favorite

Padma Lakshmi and Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi.
From the beginning of competition during this season of Top Chef, Nina Compton had been the one to beat.

Strong from the start, Compton wowed the judges with bold flavors derived from her Caribbean roots, formal training, and tenure in the kitchen at Miami Beach's Scarpetta.

Now, after a long season, judges Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Hugh Acheson, Gail Simmons, and Padma Lakshmi were heatedly debating who would claim the title and $100,000 prize. At 1 a.m., the judges were still at it after contestants Nicholas Elmi and Nina Compton's kitchen prowess proved to be pretty much even after the final challenge, in which each chef had to prepare a four-course dinner.

Earlier that evening, the cheftestants had their own challenges and victories.

See also: Scarpetta's Nina Compton Advances to Top Chef Finals

Nick's duck dish was inconsistent, and his crudo was underseasoned, but his sweet shrimp bisque was a winner with Colicchio, who said it was the best plate he'd had all season.

Nina's orecchiette with baby goat, which a few hours earlier was deemed "chewy as f--k," proved to be a favorite, while her swordfish was overpowered by the kale it rested on and her zeppole was unmemorable.

Having reached a decision, the judges called in the finalists, and Padma announced the winner: "Nick, you are Top Chef."

That announcement came as a blow to many viewers, who thought the title was Compton's to lose. But, as head judge Colicchio explained to host Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live: "Nick clearly cooked better that night, but Nina clearly cooked better all season," before adding he'll never again be welcome in St. Lucia, the small Caribbean island from which Compton hails.

Both Compton and Elmi were guests on Cohen's late-night show. When the host mentioned to Compton that she didn't look surprised when she lost, she replied, "I knew I made a few mistakes, and as a chef, there was a gut feeling. You know when you didn't make the cut." Elmi quipped he had the same gut feeling during every elimination round.

The evening ended on a sweet note for both chefs, with Nina winning both the fan favorite competition (and the $10,000 that goes with the popularity title) and that evening's poll, which asked viewers to vote on who they wanted to win. Compton won that by a landslide 80 percent.

Cohen then reminded fans that they could visit Elmi at his newly opened 20-seat restaurant, Laurel, in Philadelphia and could sample Compton's food at Scarpetta in Miami Beach. When Cohen asked the Scarpetta chef if she was planning to open her own restaurant, she simply replied, "I'm just going with the flow right now." Let's hope that flow keeps her in Miami.

Here's Nina explaining how it feels to come that close to winning:

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This show is a joke. Clearly they favor men. There is no way in all of HELL and back that Nick out cooked Nina. Not to mention he has no class. Complete Sham.Never watching this show again.


I'm not surprised, the judges repeatedly favor men on this show. Nick should have been voted off long before when he screwed Stephanie, then he goes on to win! He notably can't even salt a dish properly!! What the judges did to Nina is a sin. This show is a joke. I really think that Tom hates women

Ardis Gonzalez Leon
Ardis Gonzalez Leon

UGH SPOILER ALERT!!!!! THIS IS STILL ON MY DVR!!!! Bummed Nina didn't win, but didn't want to learn it this way!!! OK, rant over! :)

Rick Guerrero
Rick Guerrero

Thanks for putting "Spoiler Alert" on this post some people Record stuff to watch it later.!!!!

Christian Chip Miller
Christian Chip Miller

Thanks for putting the spoiler out there assholes, some people haven't watched it yet.


Thanks for the spoil. Guess I can delete it from my DVR now.

Desi Ville
Desi Ville

Tom robbed her n we all know it this show sucks


Totally. Tom and Emeril in my opinion. So done with this show.

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