When celebrity chef Michael Mina started taking reservations for his new test kitchen concept, a three-month pop-up BBQ establishment in San Francisco, bookings for the first month sold out in seven minutes.
"That's the power of Ayesha," says Mina, whose previous record for selling out a month's worth of reservations was a week and a half.
The restaurant partnership with Mina, called International Smoke, is the latest move for 27-year-old Ayesha Curry, wife of two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
Her husband's team is on the cusp of winning back-to-back NBA titles, and their daughter Riley has become a viral star of postgame news conferences. But Curry, a Canadian who has dated Steph since his college days at Davidson and has been married to him for almost five years, is quickly becoming a huge name in her own right.
Curry started cooking at age 12, as family time with four other siblings seemed to revolve around the kitchen. She had also been involved in acting since she was 3 years old and thought it would be her career destiny, despite the fact she didn't love it. That was until Stephen convinced her to return to her cooking passion. Ayesha began blogging in 2012.
"I started a blog mainly because we were on the West Coast and our entire family was on the East Coast," she says, an hour before the restaurant launch on June 4. That night, her husband dropped by -- as did Drake. "I included some recipes on it and, all of a sudden, I saw people outside the family taking interest."
It was more than interest. Readers felt they could relate to her down-to-earth recipes that often included a twist from her diverse background -- her mother came from Jamaican and Chinese ancestry, while her father came from African-American and Polish roots.
She later found out how popular she was when she started selling an olive oil she liked on her blog. It got so popular, she could no longer handle the distribution.
"I had to post that it was sold out," Curry laughs.
She now has a social following that no athlete spouse or significant other can match; her Instagram feed has 3.3 million followers, and her YouTube channel has more than 380,000 subscribers. She has trended on Twitter at least five times in the past six months.
Next up on Curry's to-do list is branded cooking products with a yet-to-be-disclosed distributor. In September, her first cookbook, "The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well," will hit shelves. And on Monday she announced her collaboration with leather baby moccasin company Freshly Picked.
"Yes, she's married to Steph, but people have to understand that she's a star on her own," says John Parsley, executive editor of Little, Brown and Company, which is publishing the cookbook. "It's wild how engaged her fans are. It's hundreds of thousands of people who love what she does."
Parsley offered to have chefs come to prepare and plate the food presented in her book, as well as consult on recipes, which is standard in the industry. But Curry said she needed to do it all by herself.
"I wanted it to be my thing and to put in all the work," she says. "I didn't want it to look too professional because this book is for the auntie who has never cooked, or for the guy who is trying to impress his girlfriend. I needed it to be genuine, so the photos look like how it will look when you make it."
Parsley had a change of heart. "When the pictures came in, they looked gorgeous."
Andrew Schechter, vice president of programming and development for the Food Network, first saw Ayesha on "Cookin' with the Currys," her show on CSN Bay Area, the network that broadcasts Warriors games.
"Although it was local TV, I could tell right away that she was intelligent, charming, funny and skilled," says Schechter. "We really fell in love at first sight."
The Food Network and its sister network, the Cooking Channel, will soon feature Curry, though the exact details haven't been released. The network recently filmed a pilot show that doesn't yet have an air date. But Schechter says he isn't concerned about whether people will find out when she's on.
"Her social media following is extremely important. It means she comes to us with a built-in audience."
Part of Curry's relevance in social media comes from her confidence in herself. She's not afraid to cheer for her husband and tell him how great he is in a public post seen by millions. As for being criticized when TV cameras catch her yelling and screaming for her husband, Curry says she knows it could go either way.
"I think it's a lose-lose situation. If the camera catches me cheering, I'm annoying. If I'm not cheering, I'm a terrible wife. I can't win. Some people actually think I control when the camera is on me."
At game time, the couple communicates by touching matching tattoos on their arms, two arrows pointing at each other.
"It means the past is gone and the future is ahead and all that is promised is the present, so go out there and enjoy it," she says. The two also have matching tattoos in Hebrew that translate to "love never fails."
Curry is also not afraid to stand up for what she believes in.
In December, she made a statement on Twitter about scantily clad women. "I like to keep the good stuff covered up for the one who matters," she wrote. She immediately jumped to the top of that day's trending topics, becoming the subject of memes and Photoshops and everything that comes from the Internet's hater crowd.
"I don't deal with it," Curry says. "At the end of the day, the Internet is full of mean people. Who are these people in their everyday life? I pray for them."
A strong Christian faith, she says, has enabled her and her husband to stay grounded and humble, despite the fame and money that has come along with his success.
"While I'm clearly aware that he has helped me get through the door, I have to walk through that door and I feel like I have the talent to be here. So it has been fun to prove people wrong." Ayesha Curry
"It has, however, been hard to stay normal," she says. "And by that, I mean, it takes a lot of planning for us to go out. Sometimes we just want to go out, and it involves bringing security, and we can't just go. Sometimes we ask ourselves if we should bring the girls [daughters Riley and Ryan] because it might just be too crazy. It means we are staying in more often, which I don't have a problem with."
As Ayesha's star has risen, she has seen plenty of criticism directed at her, namely that her success is merely the result of her husband's prominence.
"It's weird because I feel like I'm still spending time fighting off the naysayers who think I only have these opportunities because of Stephen," Curry says. "While I'm clearly aware that he has helped me get through the door, I have to walk through that door and I feel like I have the talent to be here. So it has been fun to prove people wrong."
Chef Mina learned that Ayesha was much more than just Steph Curry's wife when he offered her the opportunity to be a line chef cooking for 900 people at his Super Bowl tailgate in February.
"She knew what she was doing and she was there the entire time," Mina says. "She's the real deal. I've learned that over and over again over the last six months."
And Curry doesn't just have fans of her food in homes across America -- she has them in the highest of places. Amanda Haas, culinary director for cookware company Williams-Sonoma, has served as her mentor since meeting her three years ago.
"I was blown away by her recipes, her voice and her strong point of view," Haas says. "People want to be influenced by Ayesha. They are trying to do what she is doing by making something every night that tastes good. Like Stephen, she can be a role model, too. The good thing is, we don't have to pick."