716 Transformers: The Chef

By Nancy J. Parisi

Published on | Last Updated

Chef Darian Bryan entered the Western New York culinary arena with panache and aplomb. His buzzworthy pop-ups began popping up in 2018, as he gained renown as a private chef for several Buffalo Bills players. In February 2022 he opened The Plating Society in Larkinville, a brick-and-mortar home for his catering, takeout, and cooking classes operation. Born in Jamaica, he’s a proud U.S. citizen (minted in 2022), and Buffalonian; his hashtag reflects his cultural heritage and brand: #fancyjerk. He learned his culinary chops locally at Erie Community College, and Buffalo State, and his signature is not only high-end gourmet fare, but dressing with bespoke flare: tailored chef coats, and custom hats to match. He competed on Food Network’s, Chopped in March of 2022, making it to the final round, and scored a second place in the dessert round. With his wife Jessica, he’s raising a family and running a business and “loving every second of Buffalo,” he says. “When I came here, I saw a gap, all the chefs looked the same and were doing all the same things, so I brought my Jamaican background to the kitchen. I dressed differently, wore custom jackets, my tailored uniform and fedora in the kitchen. I put on a show, I cook in front of you and then sit and talk with you, I love to educate people – I’ll teach them how to make the shallot cream sauce. There’s no experience like my experience. I want to make people happy with my food.”

716 Tips

“Come to Larkinville and Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square and all the festivals happening here with great musical lineups you don’t see anywhere else in Buffalo; it’s a destination and it’s beautiful and clean, it’s something to experience. Sit in the pavilion, watch the band, and try the artisan pizza food truck, they do an amazing job. I also recommend grabbing a cocktail at the Filling Station’s bar. And the Cubano sandwich, and banana pepper dip at Hydraulic Hearth are so good, my wife is obsessed with it. I love Larkinville, I now live in the Larkin district.”

Nancy J. Parisi headshot

Nancy J. Parisi

Nancy is a social documentation photographer based in Buffalo, NY.