September 28, 2022

How a chef uses food to heal Buffalo: “Food is love and food is what brings people together”

The city of Buffalo is trying to get back to normal after last week’s mass shooting at a Tops supermarket that killed 10 blacks.

Chef Darian Bryan is here to help the town heal. He opened a pop-up restaurant in the area, with funds intended to help the families of the victims.

“These people are hurting so I’m like you know what, food is love and food is what brings people together, and I’m so grateful to be able to put a smile on these people’s faces,” a- he told CBS News.

Bryan is originally from Jamaica, but is a staple in Buffalo. He hosted several Jamaican pop-up events and cooked for the Buffalo Bills. He also owns the catering business called “The Plating Society”.

Wednesday, several Buffalo Bills players have served thousands of meals, some prepared by Bryan, at the site of the shooting. For many, this supermarket is the only one they can easily access.

“This community is like where you can find the most black people in Buffalo. It’s where they all are and it’s a grocery store for them,” Bryan said. “That’s where they all go and being closed there are no products for them, there are no healthy options.”

Saturday’s offense hit close to home for Bryan. He often shopped at the store before dropping his children off at a nearby daycare center and nearly brought his family there on the day of the shooting.

“I knew just about everyone who worked there,” he said.

He hopes to find a more permanent solution to feed the people of a community. In the meantime, he wants to help the community heal through such a dark time.

“It drives me crazy that there’s only one grocery store in all of Eastside like these people who have to drive miles for food now because Tops is closed. It just doesn’t make sense to me,” Bryan said. “Something has to be done for these people.”

At an event Friday, Bryan raised $20,000 for the victims and their families. He plans to continue handing out free meals next week.