Ayesha Curry — wife, mother, restaurateur, author, executive producer and CoverGirl — literally does it all. Receiving Variety’s Inaugural
Tastemaker award at the 2019 Napa Valley Film Festival, the entrepreneur is being recognized for her social impact in combining entertainment, philanthropy and her culinary lifestyle.
Curry holds her cookbook — her first step toward a career as a food and lifestyle mogul — dear to her heart. “My first cookbook was truly like having another child,” she says. “It took nine months to create, and it was in every way a true extension of who I am.”
“The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well” was originally published in 2016, around the same time she opened a pop-up restaurant with award-winning chef Michael Mina in the Bay Area. Curry, who watched her babysitter cook Trinidadian food for customers in her mother’s hair salon growing up, translated her love for community into savory dishes for the cookbook.
“[The cookbook] was recipes I’d been collecting over the course of my entire adult life. It included recipes I cook for my family and recipes passed down by my mother and grandmother. Because it was so deeply personal, it meant a lot to see such a positive response. There is really no feeling like seeing someone cooking and enjoying a recipe you poured so much love into creating.”
In only two years, Curry has overseen the opening of five restaurants across the country.
Curry, with Mina, opened her first official location in San Francisco in 2017. International Smoke has since expanded to open three additional locations in Houston, Miami and, most recently, San Diego. Later this year, they will open at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Curry explains how Mina acted as both a mentor and business partner. Despite her success in the culinary world, Curry has never had any professional training. As a black woman, this fact compounded insecurities that held her back in the beginning of her career. Mina recognized Curry’s talent and passion, to provide endless support and encouragement.
Not one to be content with only one project, Curry recently founded Eat. Learn. Play. with husband Stephen Curry, six-time NBA All-Star and point guard for the Golden State Warriors. The foundation concerns itself with ending childhood hunger, ensuring access to nutritious food, improving education for children and providing safe spaces for them to be active.
“Our focus right now is centered on supporting our Bay Area community, where there is such an immediate need, with the goal of expanding our scope in the years to come. As parents, it’s really difficult for Stephen and I to think about kids in our own backyard struggling to get the basic necessities. Regardless of how busy things get, we can’t ignore that need, and feel grateful to be in a position where we can change these kids’ lives.”
Curry is collecting recipes for her second cookbook, those that reflect her personal journey over the past few years. Even though Curry enjoys rich ingredients, she hopes to prioritize efficient, healthy meals for families to enjoy.
Mother to 7-year-old Riley, 4-year-old Ryan and newest addition to the family, 1-year-old Canon, Curry adds another responsibility to her never-ending plate: “Fempire.” The web series, hosted on the Ellen Digital Network, follows Curry helping other female entrepreneurs build their businesses and brands. “Fempire” premieres Nov. 13.