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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Pasta Packs' co-founders on pandemic dinner parties and cooking while Black

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Dalia Colon
The Zest Podcast
In April 2020, Nic and Greg Byron opened Pasta Packs in Tampa. The brothers combined Nic’s cooking expertise with Greg’s business acumen.

Meet the siblings behind Pasta Packs. They discuss starting a business during the pandemic, tips for making better pasta at home and the reaction they get as Black men cooking Italian food.

Listen to the episode

During the COVID-19 pandemic, while the rest of us were experimenting with sourdough starter, the Bryon brothers were eating like kings.

With restaurants shuttered, Nic, the younger of the pair, had been laid off from his job as sous chef of Tampa’s Oak & Ola. But the Johnson & Wales grad put his culinary skills to work at home, where he quarantined with his brother Greg and Greg’s young family.

The food, wine and music flowed. But the money didn’t. So in April 2020, the brothers combined Nic’s cooking expertise with Greg’s business acumen to start Pasta Packs.

They criss-crossed the Tampa Bay area, delivering fresh pasta with all the fixin’s for customers to cook at home. The meals were a hit with folks seeking a fine dining experiencel at home. Pasta Packs was featured in lots of media, including in The Wall Street Journal.

Now Pasta Packs has a brick-and-mortar pickup location in South Tampa. In addition to selling ready-to-cook pastas and sauces, Pasta Packs offers classes, catering and in-home three-course dinners. Nic also teaches a free cooking class for kids called The Sauce, through University Area Community Development Corporation in Tampa.

In a conversation with The Zest, Greg and Nic share the challenges they faced along the way, tips for making better pasta at home and the reaction they receive as two Black men cooking Italian food.

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