Ebony Bryant, 40: Budding chef was ‘the life of the party'

Ebony Bryant was more than a cook, she was a culinary artist, friends and family said.

Imagining a dish, and then preparing it, was high on the list of things she loved to do. And never once did Ms. Bryant create something that wasn’t a hit, said her mother, Mellinese Bryant.

“All of her food looked good and smelled good,” Mrs. Bryant said of her daughter. “She made meat stuffed with something or wrapped with this or that, and it was always good.”

Ebony Nova Bryant, of Riverdale, died Dec. 27 at her home of unknown causes. She was 40. A funeral was held Wednesday in the Cascade Chapel of Murray Brothers Funeral Home, which was in charge of arrangements. Her body was buried in Westview Cemetery.

Ms. Bryant was the person friends called on when they needed help in the kitchen.

“I would cook, but nothing like Ebony,” said Tasha Bailey, a friend for the past 20 years. “I used to call her and say, ‘Hey I need a dinner plan. What can I put together,’ because she was always good with meal planning and fixing something quick and nutritious.”

A native of Atlanta, Ms. Bryant attended Benjamin Banneker High School. It was there she took a culinary arts class and fell in love with the kitchen, said her mother, who lives in Fayetteville. Ms. Bryant graduated in 1989 and even toyed with the idea of going to culinary arts school in Rhode Island, but decided she wanted to stay in Atlanta, Mrs. Bryant said. After graduation she took a course or two at a local culinary school, while working for the Postal Service for the past 17 years, her mother said.

Allison Grant, a friend for 16 years, said Ms. Bryant’s cooking adventures suited her just fine.

“When I lived next door she would call me to come over,” Ms. Grant said. “I was literally her guinea pig for every new recipe.”

Ms. Grant said her neighbor could put ingredients together like none other, “and it just worked,” she said. “And you should have seen her spice rack. It was ridiculous.”

Ms. Bryant is remembered by her friends as a bubbly woman and loving mother. Her 7-year-old daughter, Nova K. Arnold, was the light of her life, friends and family said.

Little Nova, affectionately known as Muffin, was often the topic of Ms. Bryant’s conversations with friends. Ms. Bailey said her friend often mentioned her daughter, “and the things kids do to put a smile on their parents’ faces.”

Ms. Bryant had a sharp sense of humor and a quick wit that could easily catch you off guard, Ms. Grant said, “but she did have a sad side.”

In 1998, Ms. Bryant’s younger, and only, brother was killed in a car accident. She never got over his death, her mother said.

But her sadness didn’t stop her from being the life of a party, her friends said.

“If she walked into a party and it was dead... it wasn’t dead for long,” Ms. Bailey said.

Ms. Bryant is also survived by her father, Llewellyn Bryant, and her maternal grandmother, Cora Mae Walker, of Atlanta.

About the Author