Ayesha Curry’s culinary career started as many new ventures do—with a bet.
She became friends with powerhouse chef Michael Mina over lunch at his namesake flagship restaurant in San Francisco, and once the two food lovers were in the kitchen, the jokes started rolling. “He invited me to come and cook with him, and we had the best time. We joked that if the Panthers made it to the Super Bowl (my husband and I are from North Carolina, so we’re big Panthers fans), I would come and cook with him again.” The Panthers did make it to the Super Bowl, which was held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. So Curry, the dark-haired beauty who is wife to NBA all-star and Oakland Warriors MVP Stephen Curry, went to cook at Michael Mina’s tailgate. “Michael kept his word and I went. I got to cook for 500 people at his pregame tailgate party. It was insane!” she says of the event. It also turned out to be important because it kicked into high gear her role as a young food personality. “After that, he said, ‘You know, I really want to do something together on a larger scale,’ so we came up with this idea for International Smoke,” Ayesha told Haute Living on a recent Friday afternoon.
International Smoke is her first foray into the restaurant business, and it’s the fourth installment of Mina’s Test Kitchen pop-up, a platform where the chef tries out new dining ideas for several months. With addictive fresh corn nuts and insanely flavorful barbecued shrimp chili with coconut red curry, the pop-up produces a lighter, fresher take on typically heave barbecue. Take one bite of Curry’s melt-in-your mouth al pastor-inspired ribs and you quickly realize that when it comes to the all things culinary, she means business, just as her husband commands the shots on the basketball court.
Although she has no formal training in kitchen skills, Curry has been cooking since she was a girl. “Both of my parents worked, so it was my way of helping around the house by making dinner for my family. I fell in love with it. Instead of cartoons, I was the kid who was watching Food Network, falling asleep to Emeril and Rachael Ray,” she explains. Curry grew up in Canada and North Carolina and has a colorful family background—her mom is Jamaican and Chinese and her dad is Polish and African-American—which gives her an incredibly varied palate. While she grew up cooking for her family, it wasn’t until she had her first child, daughter Riley, in 2012, that she realized it was a passion she wanted to pursue professionally. She started a blog, Little Lights of Mine, and began to share recipes and cooking videos as well as tidbits about her strong faith, her love of homemade beauty products, and her tips for parenting and fitness.
It’s the girl next door’s blog with Ayesha cooking in her sweatpants, sans makeup, dancing around the kitchen. This laid-back playfulness caught the eye of the Cooking Channel and publisher Little, Brown and Company, and both came calling with proposals. The Cooking Channel is producing her first cooking show, tentatively titled At Home With Ayesha, but it doesn’t have an air date yet; for now, she says, “We are getting good feedback.” Her first cookbook, with Little, Brown, is The Seasoned Life, which comes out Sept. 20, 2016.
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SOURCE: Haute Living