Chef Darian Bryan is settling in nicely to his new restaurant in Larkinville. After years of cooking and serving on the road, at special events and people’s houses, Chef Darian is finally happy to be back in a more stable position, at work and in life. Not only are he and his wife Jessica (Director and Operations Manager) busy promoting and running the The Plating Society, they are also in the process of moving into an apartment upstairs (upon selling their house, which closes this week).
Aside from being close to work, Chef Darian told me that the apartment (@ Millrace Commons) has everything that they need, including access to a gym and an outdoor pool. It’s also situated in what is becoming a much more walkable Larkin District.
As for the restaurant operations, Chef Darius and his sous chef DuWayne Harding are concentrating on a number of in-house private dining experiences, as well as take-out dinners that are open to the public on Wednesdays.
“We’re doing a lot of bookings with birthdays and anniversaries throughout the week, and on weekends,” said Chef Darian. “We’ve also teamed up with Magic Bear next door for beer and wine pairings. I give owner (and Certified Cicerone®) Craig Altobello my Wednesday menu, and he pairs the beer and wine. People can either take the food and drinks home with them, or they can eat and drink at Magic Bear. It’s a great relationship. He’s the man for beer – people love it over there. They also love chilling in Larkinville.”
Chef Darian told me that his prime business comes from the events that he and Jessica promote and execute. The way it works is that people that receive The Plating Society’s eblast newsletter get first crack at the events, as well as sneak peeks at upcoming menus. Once a certain amount of time goes by, the events and culinary specials are posted to social media channels (if the occasions aren’t already booked).
“We’ve got a great following these days,” said Chef Darian. “I’m still doing dinners at people’s homes, but I’m concentrating more and more on the food experience at the restaurant. I love being back in the kitchen in that capacity. I love the rush… calling tickets, calling orders. I miss all that craziness.
“It’s all going in the right direction – exactly what I had hoped for – the ticketed dinners, the Sunday brunches, cooking classes (at least two a month), and the Wednesday take-out dinners. I’m also continuing to do meal prep and special request meals for the Buffalo Bills – I had 11 players/clients this past season. There’s definitely a lot going on, but I have the restaurant to tie it all together.”
These pop-up event and dinner club concepts are becoming more and more popular in Buffalo. Not only do they offer diners a more diverse dining experience, they also provide the owner/chefs with the flexibility and versatility that some of them crave.
So what’s up next event-wise for the team at The Plating Society? An interactive virtual cooking show is next up at the plate:
Chef Darian is going to be partnering with an accomplished food writer Vaughn Stafford Gray who has written for the Smithsonian, Food and Wine and so much more, to virtually discuss the history and evolution of the Jerk Spice. Chef Darian will be teaching his Rasta Pasta recipe and folks have a chance to cook along with him.
Chef Darian is hosting a virtual cooking class in honor of Black History Month on Monday, February 21st, at 6:30 PM via Zoom.
Event participants will:
- Observe how to make Chef Darian’s Rasta Pasta
- Learn about the history of jerk spice. Chef Darian’s virtual sous chefs who sign up for this event by Wednesday, February 16, at 6 PM, are entered for a chance to receive all the ingredients they’ll need to cook along with Chef Darian.
“I thank Grace Foods and Tops Friendly Markets for their support of this important event,” Chef Bryan said. “I look forward to sharing my Rasta Pasta recipe with our supporters, but most importantly, I thank Vaughn Stafford Gray for giving his time to teach attendees about the history of Jerk Spice. Throughout this Black History Month, I’m reflecting on, and grateful for, the inspirational Black chefs who paved the way for my Bredren and me, so we could pass along traditions and share our culture through food for generations to come. I hope you’ll join us.”
Participation in the class is $10, which will be paid at registration. For more information and to sign up for this event, visit www.theplatingsociety.com/upcomingevents.
Lead image: Chef Darian, who hails from Jamaica, cuts the ribbon for The Plating Society | Photograph by Joshua Koester