Life / Food

Winning in the kitchen: Curry cooks up career with new book

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2016 file photo, NBA basketball player Stephen Curry, left, and his wife Ayesha Curry arrive at the Super Bowl 50 Rolling Stone Party in San Francisco. Ayesha Curry launched her first cookbook,

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2016 file photo, NBA basketball player Stephen Curry, left, and his wife Ayesha Curry arrive at the Super Bowl 50 Rolling Stone Party in San Francisco. Ayesha Curry launched her first cookbook, "The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well." (Photo by Omar Vega/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK — Ayesha Curry remembers the first meal she cooked for her ultra-popular NBA player-husband Stephen Curry: a baked chicken dish. But the meal Stephen whipped up for his chef-wife wasn't as tasty.

Or edible.

"The one time he cooked for me, it was awful. It was salty, cream of wheat, gushers lined up on a plate as garnish," Ayesha, 27, said in an interview Tuesday. "It was cute, but I couldn't eat it."

Ayesha said the Golden State Warriors point guard loved the first meal she made, which included "his dad's famous seasoning."

"So maybe that's the reason why we're still married," she laughed. "I don't know. I hope it's more than that."

Food has played a large part in the family's life — and Ayesha's career. She just launched her first cookbook, "The Seasoned Life" (Little, Brown and Co.), and she cooks all the meals for her family — including daughters Riley, 4, and Ryan, 1 — without the help of a chef.

"No discredit to the people that do — I'm always watching and looking on social media at the stuff that they make — but at home I think I'm so prideful with my food and so I make everything," she said.

For the book, she also worked independently: "I food styled and cooked all the food for the photos myself, so it was just the photographer and I."

Ayesha says the recipes are quick, easy and accessible. Some reflect her multicultural background — her mother is Jamaican and Chinese and her father is black and Polish.

"It's a big part of the way I cook, the way I flavour my food, and I think it helped me growing up to be able to play around with my food and experiment," she said.

Ayesha said she turned to food professionally after starting her cooking blog.

Some of the standouts in her book include her Mama Alexander's brown sugar chicken, Stephen's five-ingredient pasta (for game days) and her honey-peppered cast-iron biscuits. She came up with her "pancrepes" by accident.

"I just threw stuff together, put it in a pan and then realized I left out the thickening agent, what was going to fluff that pancake up, and it was the consistency of a crepe, but they were so delicious," she said. "The whole family loves them. They're great. It's my happy accident."

She says she enjoys cooking with her daughters, and getting Riley involved has helped expand her palette: "The way that I get her to try stuff is by making it with me because then she's seeing what's going into (it) ... and she's feeling like she's accomplished something."

Riley's become a social media star, garnering attention at her father's basketball games, press conferences and more. Ayesha said it's hard to deal with her daughter's popularity.

"It's a little bit intimidating I think as a mom, a little bit scary 'cause the intentions weren't there for that to happen, but we've kind of taken it on and taken it for what it is because if you have a gift to make people happy the way that she's made people happy, I mean that's OK," Ayesha said. "She puts a smile on people's faces so we're all right with it."

Fame has also impacted Ayesha, who, while being a fan-favourite , has taken some criticism. Her angry Twitter rant earlier this year following a Warriors loss during the finals made her a target (she later apologized). And her wholesome image, while being lauded by some, has caused others to use her photos as memes with a holier-than-thou image.

"I think it's silly. It's so funny how your personality and character can be shaped by other people and not yourself, and I would just like to say nobody's perfect. I'm completely normal," she said.

She's hoping that her new cooking show, "Ayesha's Homemade," will help deliver her true personality. It premieres Oct. 22 on the Food Network and was filmed at the Currys' home in Alamo, California.

"I tend to be supergoofy and that will come off on the show," she said. "I'm just excited for people to see that I don't take things so seriously — life's too short, so we've got to have fun and make things easy."

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Online:

http://www.ayeshacurry.com/