Chef Demetrius Brown started the Heritage Supper Club in 2021. Heritage was a dream of his for many years and the pandemic provided the necessary space to pursue that dream. Previously, Brown helped to open many kitchens, but he had never worked in a space honoring his Caribbean and Afro-American roots. Heritage allows Chef Brown to explore the culinary traditions tracing back to his ancestors while sharing that knowledge with the Atlanta community. 

Brown grew up in Providence and a variety of cultures influenced his earliest food memories. At home, he enjoyed the food cooked by his Trinidadian grandmother and the African cuisine cooked by his mother. Outside of his home, he experienced what culinary diversity Providence offered. It was the combination of these memories that sparked his passion for cooking. Now, despite Brown’s knowledge of many types of cuisine, he wants to portray the purest idea of home by honoring his mother and grandmother. Heritage Supper Club does this by telling the stories of the African diaspora that have been lost to history. 

This story highlights a dish Chef Brown will be making for the upcoming Gather’round Soul of the South pop-up: roti with curried goat and chickpeas. The dish really speaks to Afro-American culture specific to the Caribbean region. In the 19th Century, Caribbean cuisines – particularly Jamaican and Trinidadian cuisine – experienced strong influences from India when slavery abolishment left the British Empire without laborers on Caribbean plantations. Individuals from India were brought to these fields through the process of indentureship, leading to the intertwining of foodways between Indians and those already on the islands. It’s important to note the exploitative nature of indentureship, and that those living on the islands utilized food and cooking as an uplifting community focal point to overcome their hardships. 

The lack of availability of certain ingredients inspired creativity that brought new, Caribbean flavors to historical Indian dishes. The roti is one of these staple dishes, and it holds special, nostalgic value for Chef Brown. “I grew up eating roti made by my grandmother who was from Trinidad,” says Brown. “Roti is a dish that was introduced to the Caribbean…and has taken on a new identity in all corners with slight changes and variations.” For Soul of the South, Chef Brown pairs the roti with curried chana (chickpeas) and goat, which also reflect the Indian influence on Caribbean cuisine.  

“It’s important to all of us that we share the diversity of our people’s cuisine,” says Brown. The flavors and perspective presented by his food perfectly showcase this diversity and share the story of his heritage.

Heritage Supper Club will be serving this dish at the Gather’round Soul of the South pop-up experience on Sept. 29 and will have an event on Oct. 23

Behind the Food is a column from the Punk Foodie that highlights some of the most unique and delicious dishes from the Atlanta underground dining scene. Go deeper via Punk Foodie’s weekly guides and pop-up calendar

Although currently working in public health, Madalyn Nones has a passion for baking, farmers' markets, and grassroots food businesses.