The Boot Italian restaurant in Durham has hired a new executive chef that some may recognize from the PBS show “A Chef’s Life”: John May. The show chronicles chef Vivan Howard’s life as a wife, mother, and owner of her Kinston restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, a farm-to-fork progressive eatery, where the menu changes based on what is ripe and in season. John May worked alongside Howard at Chef & the Farmer for two-and-a-half years and often appeared in the kitchen scenes of “A Chef’s Life.”
The Boot is named for the “leg” geography of Italy, and serves classic Italian-American food in a casual atmosphere. You will find classic Italian fare such as spaghetti and meatballs, chicken paremesan, and, of course, pizza! The restaurant was opened in late 2014 by Durham chefs Andy Magowan and Andy Perno, who also own the popular Geer Street Garden restaurant in Durham. John May began working at The Boot on February 1. According to Magowan, May has made some changes to the restaurant, including taking The Boot’s menu in a more seasonal, farm-to-fork direction. “It’s an Italian-American restaurant with a focus less on American; and more on Italian.” May has added local artisan products, such as new plates and bowls fashioned by a local potter, and Boxcarr Handmade Cheese.
But the new, exciting dishes May has prepared are the main attraction! Feast your eyes on some of his latest creations:
Local, pasture-raised beef carpaccio with wild sorrel, hazelnuts, lemon-mint pesto and creme fraiche.
Saffron milk-braised lamb with goat cheese ravioli, fennel, and meyer lemon.
Ricotta almond tart with pine nut syrup and brown butter fig.
The Boot is located at 2501 University Drive in Durham. Hours: 11:30 am-2:30 pm Monday through Saturday; 5:00 pm-9:00 pm Saturday and Sunday. Buon Appetito!