Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has made it a point to stay away from animal products and adopt a plant-based diet since his days as a member of the Boston Celtics.
“I had to get away from that,” Irving told ESPN. “So my energy is up. My body feels amazing.”
Meet the man responsible for that process: Chef Corey Bryant.
Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Bryant detailed how he connected with Irving. Bryant says Irving’s father, Drederick Irving, connected his son and the chef after a chance meeting at a local LA Fitness.
Bryant says he walked up to the eldest Irving, showed him his work and shared that throughout his career he’s cooked for notables like podcast host Joe Budden and rapper Safaree Samuels. “Pulled up to LA Fitness, saw his dad in there doing his daily routine — chucking up jump shots of course,” he recalled.
“So I walked inside and I said, ‘Oh, I know who you are. You’re Kyrie’s dad.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, what’s going on my man? How you doin’?’ and it just went from there.
“Showed him my Instagram, showed him all my food pictures – he’s like, ‘Oh yeah! This is what Ky loves. He loves to have this. Let’s exchange information.’ And we exchanged numbers and so after that, the rest is history. And this is second season Kyrie with the Boston Celtics.”
Throughout the podcast, Bryant discusses getting food back and forth from northern New Jersey to Boston. “I definitely was driving,” he said.
“I was staying in Boston for a good month while I was out there, back and forth, and it was just a dream come true honestly. They flew me out there first and then I was cooking for the whole family for the weekend. They loved the food, it was amazing and driving back and forth was definitely a new step in my life. Driving from Jersey to Boston every other month was incredible. Like, I had so much energy driving to Boston, it was like, impeccable!”
Bryant shares the meal prep process for Kyrie Irving on a game day. “If it’s a game day, I would go there in the morning around eight o’clock to prepare breakfast,” he says.
“He’ll do his daily rituals, relax and then he’ll take his pregame. I’ll still be at the house. After I make his breakfast, I’ll make his pregame meal so he can get ready; take it with him to the arena. Then prepare his dinner for after the game and so that’s basically every day. It’s an everyday process. Three meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner and sometimes a snack in between … a smoothie or power ball or something like that.”
Irving likes the quality of his diet thus far, telling Bleacher Report, “I haven’t changed any diet. I don’t plan on changing anything in my diet. It’s working out great so far.”
Irving averaged 27.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.4 steals per contest this season for the Brooklyn Nets.
A six-time NBA All-Star, Irving won a championship in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 2011-2012 NBA Rookie of the Year and 2014 NBA All-Star MVP had season-ending surgery this winter after suffering thoracic bursitis.
The first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Irving relies on Bryant to make dishes to compliment his vegan diet.
One snack Bryant creates for Irving is called a power ball. A power ball consists of nuts ground up together. “You could use almond butter, some nuts – any type of nuts,” says Bryant.
“Pecans, almonds, walnuts, and bring it all together and you roll it out into a ball, and there you go. And there are so many different ways that you can finesse it. You can do chocolate. You can do peanut butter. You can do white chocolate … it’s a bunch of categories that you can tap into and create your own power ball.”
Before working as an in-home chef for celebrities, Bryant worked as a cook at United Airlines. “I actually had two jobs,” he told Scoop B Radio.
“I was working for United and I was working at a nursing home as well feeding the elderly, doing that back and forth. All day, seven days a week. Maybe a day off possibly you know, going crazy in the kitchen [laughs], and that was just my life. That was my lifestyle. Going to work, coming home. Sleep and eat. Go out and that was it.”
While Irving is a top client, these days Bryant’s online home meal prep service has also been a hit. A New Jersey resident, it is not uncommon for Bryant to receive requests from across the country. “I got a DM from somebody in Inglewood, California, the other day,” he said.
Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia are all sending the requests. Red velvet waffles, mouth-watering steak, grilled chicken salad, asparagus, Mexican salmon, grilled lobster tails and shrimp broccoli are on display on his website and via his Instagram account.
The trips back and forth from New Jersey to Boston for Irving were training camp and scrimmages.
Now he’s at the big game in his business. “Business has reached its peak,” he said.
“It definitely went sky-high with me selling dinners and with me getting into contact with more and more people. My business is growing day by day. People want to get food every day, every week, people want to have something catered. So just the fact that I was cooking for Kyrie definitely took the business to the next level of my life where I need to be and it’s going to keep on transitioning to a new level as the days go by.”
On his website, Bryant is pictured in his kitchen wearing his chef’s hat while striking a cooking pose. The caption reads: “Let your taste buds be the judge.”
Next season, the Brooklyn Nets will have a healthy Irving and Durant. For those keeping score at home: Durant has been on the mend since tearing his Achilles last season.
Here’s the Million Dollar Question: Will Bryant cook for KD? “I cooked for Kevin Durant,” he tells Scoop B Radio.
“This was when Kyrie was in Boston and KD came down with the Warriors for an away game. And you know, him and KD are tight. They’re like brothers. He came in and I blessed him with some vegan food and he was like, ‘What is this?!!?’ and I said: ‘It’s a vegan burger and a salad.’ He had a little kale and romaine salad with some nuts and cranberries. He was going crazy [and saying] ‘This is AMAZING!! Wow!’ I’m like: ‘Yeah. It’s vegan.’”
The NBA season has been on hold since March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Bryant says he’ll be excited for things to get back to normal, particularly when it comes to cooking on game day. “Just the games and the excitement,” he tells me.
“When it’s game day, it’s a whole different vibe. Everybody’s more excited, the fam comes over, you know Ky; he watches film … We watch film together sometimes. He’ll be braggin’ on the jokers that be left and crossed over and I’m like: ‘Yo, this is crazy.’ It’s more exciting. More talks about basketball. Even we talk about Kobe sometimes. Like, we watch Kobe highlights even when it’s game day. It gets crazy. We even watch film when he was with St. Patrick’s back in high school, it gets crazy. Game days are definitely the littest days.”
For more info on Bryant visit chefcoreyb.com.