EXCLUSIVE: Ayesha Curry Gets Candid About Food, Family (Steph and Riley, Too!) and Why She's Just Getting Star
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Ayesha Curry’s whirlwind year just keeps getting better.
The wife of two-time NBA MVP and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry has made a name for herself in the food and cooking world in a relatively short period of time -- and her quick ascension is no fluke. At 27, Curry already has a best-selling cookbook, The Seasoned Life; opened up a successful pop-up restaurant in San Francisco; and hosts her own Food Network show, Ayesha’s Homemade.
So hectic has the past year been that the breadth of what she’s accomplished professionally while juggling responsibilities as a wife and mother to two young daughters, 4-year-old Riley and 1-year-old Ryan, has yet to fully hit her. Not yet, anyway.
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“It’s funny, I haven’t taken a step back to look at everything -- it’s been such a whirlwind -- but ultimately I’m so grateful for all the amazing opportunities. Hopefully over the holidays I’ll have some time to decompress and look at it all,” Curry said with a laugh, squeezing in an interview with ET before boarding a cross-country flight back to the Bay Area.
“I think for me, it’s really just focusing on everything that’s happening and making sure I’m putting out the best content and the best products possible,” she continued. “That’s really my focus right now. Not necessarily adding anything, it’s making sure what’s out there right now is honest and positive and really good.”
Ayesha’s Homemade, which wraps its first season on Saturday, holds a special place in Curry’s heart. The six-episode series not only features her easy-to-follow recipes for a romantic date night or a girls’ brunch, it offers a rare and refreshing glimpse at what it’s like to spend time at home with the Curry's, including frequent cameos by Stephen, Riley, Ryan and their loved ones. (Spoiler alert: They’re just like any other family!)
“I wanted to keep that message of food and family alive, and how it brings people together and builds relationships and communication. For me, that was why it was important to show that on [Ayesha’s Homemade],” she said. “How fun it can be and how you can build memories throughout your lifetime doing something as simple as making a meal together.”
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The season finale, titled “The Godfather,” features the Currys’ best friends, Bryant and Brittany Barr, who are also Riley’s godparents and expecting their first child “any day now,” for the Italian-themed feast. ET exclusively debuts a cute moment from the episode, where Stephen reveals the surprising reason why his favorite dish is chicken parmesan.
The sense of togetherness through food that Curry preaches is a tradition she hopes to instill in her daughters as they grow older, as cooking was a crucial part of her childhood growing up in Toronto and Charlotte, North Carolina.
“It’s something I did with my mom and my grandma and my dad and my siblings, [and they’re] some of the fondest memories that I have,” she said. “Now, to be able to cook with my kids and carry on the same tradition is everything for me and I really, really love cooking with my girls. It gives them kitchen confidence and it keeps it fresh in their minds so when they get older, they’re more willing and ready to cook for themselves and for their families. I love it.”
While Ryan is too young to help in the kitchen (“she sits in the high chair and eats whatever we’re making”), older sister Riley is all about being sous chef. It’s really no surprise that the 4-year-old ball of energy is a firecracker in the kitchen: “If I don’t involve her, a fit is thrown so she has to have a job. I almost have to involve her to get the meal done!” Curry admitted.
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As for Stephen, he’s not as cooking illiterate as “he used to be,” she revealed, sharing that the 28-year-old basketball pro used to be “awful, terrible” in the kitchen. “He’s gotten better over the years.” His easy-to-throw-together recipe in The Seasoned Life, The Five-Ingredient Pasta, is the only dish “he’s really good at,” Curry said. When they received their first copy of the cookbook in the mail, he “cooked three dishes out of the book, which impressed me,” she adorably shared, adding, “He told me it gave him kitchen confidence and that he felt good at the end of it. That’s saying something coming from him. I’m happy he gave it a try, so I know he can do it if he has to. It surprised me!”
Go on Curry’s regularly-updated Instagram or Snapchat, and it’s like a food lover’s dream, complete with perfectly-lit photos and videos of juicy steaks being cooked on a skillet or scratch-made pasta getting mixed in a parmesan wheel. And, of course, she’s one to include a snap or two of her girls, out on the town with Stephen on a rare date night or at a Warriors home game.
Initially a way to keep their families on the East Coast abreast of life moments, it’s become an avenue -- especially for Curry -- to give people who aspire to or relate to her a destination to go to. Plus, there are always the memes. “I just looked online and the ‘greens, beans, tomatoes, potatoes,’ the #YouNameIt Challenge -- I love when there’s a good challenge that I can participate in,” she said, laughing at the thought.
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Their Mannequin Challenge video, filmed on the final day of her pop-up restaurant in October, is an example of the spontaneity and lack of pretension that has earned her family legions of admirers. “I got my husband to go around to all the restaurant patrons and ask, ‘Do you want to be a part of this?’ And everybody agreed!” she recalled, awe evident in her voice as if in wonderment that they pulled it off.
With Stephen’s immense popularity and her own mounting celebrity, she admits it was difficult managing expectations surrounding her family. Now, she’s more deliberate about what she holds back and what she shares. “Especially with the kids, we really have to regulate how much we put up,” Curry said. “That was a learning process for us. We kinda got the hang of things now.”
At the end of the day, success means nothing without friends and family, and Curry is appreciative for just that. “I’m thankful for my family’s health, that everybody’s healthy. That’s something that can be taken for granted, so I’m grateful for that.”
Get to know a little bit more about Ayesha Curry with ET’s rapid-fire round:
What’s your biggest food vice or an item of food you have to hide in the house?
You know what’s crazy? I don’t have to hide it because no one else likes it in my household and that’s chocolate. My kids don’t like chocolate. My husband doesn’t like chocolate, so I get it all to myself. That makes it even more of a vice and a guilty pleasure and it’s there and it’s not going anywhere unless I eat it. (Laughs.) It’s so bad!
Is there a dish that you don’t like to cook but make because Stephen or the kids enjoy it?
I don’t have anything in that realm that I don’t like that I make. That’s a good thing. (Laughs.) One food I’ve tried and I haven’t grown at all to like -- foie gras, I don’t like it. I just don’t. I’ve tried it several different ways and I think it’s a texture thing for me.
If you were hosting a Thanksgiving dinner party, which Food Network hosts would you invite and why?
The ultimate would be Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I love her. I would love to pick her brain. I would invite Giada [De Laurentiis]. I’m going to take it back and pick Emeril [Lagasse] and Rachael Ray. All different styles of cooking. I think it’d be an epic Thanksgiving.
Ayesha’s Homemade wraps its first season on Saturday at 12 p.m. PST/EST on Food Network.
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