December 8, 2022

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

The city of Buffalo is trying to return to normal following last week’s mass shooting at a Tops Supermarket that killed 10 Black people. 

There to help the city heal is Chef Darian Bryan. He opened up a pop-up restaurant in the area, with funds going towards helping the families of the victims. 

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

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

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

“That community is like where you can find the most Black people in Buffalo. that’s where they are all at and that’s one grocery store for them,” Bryan said. “That’s where they all go and that being closed, there’s no produce for them, there’s no healthy options.” 

Saturday’s attack hit close to home for Bryan. He frequently shopped at the store before he dropped his children off at a nearby daycare, and nearly brought his family there the day of the shooting.

“I pretty much knew everyone that worked there,” he said. 

He’s hoping to find a more permanent solution to feeding people in a community. Meanwhile, he wants to help the community heal through such a dark time. 

“It blows my mind that there is only one grocery store in the entire eastside like these folks gotta travel miles to get food now because that Tops is closed.T hat doesn’t make sense to me,” Bryan said. “Something needs to be done for these folks.”

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