2012 StarChefs.com Rising Star Nathanial Zimet was raised in North Carolina by a mother who made her own stocks. With those “from scratch” origins, Zimet went on to work his way through restaurant kitchens, even as a student on the pre-law track at Wake Forest University. And while he briefly left the South to study abroad, once home, Zimet stayed.
In 2006, Zimet introduced the streets of New Orleans to an indigo-paneled food truck (a.k.a. “the purple truck”), Que Crawl. With its outpouring of high-quality, carnivorous delicacies, the truck was an instant hit, inspiring Zimet to put his confidence—and cash—into the opening of his own brick and mortar space, Boucherie, where house-cured, smoked, and aged meats had that nostalgic “from scratch” feel.
Boucherie quickly became as successful as its mobile predecessor, but fate hasn’t been entirely kind to Zimet. In May 2011, he was shot three times in an attempted robbery, an attack that left him hospitalized. Like many Americans, Zimet had no health insurance to pay the hospital bills. But in a demonstration of the industry fraternity, the local culinary and beer communities (Zimet is a beer enthusiast) held several fundraisers on his behalf. After a miraculous recovery, Zimet returned to the line only months later, returning the favor by feeding his city sophisticated Southern cuisine that somehow always has the flavor of home.