WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.
When chef Alexia Grant left the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla., last summer, she received desperate messages from the players still inside, hoping she would reconsider.
"It got to a point where I felt very guilty when it was time for me to leave. These guys were texting me, like, 'So this is really your last day? What are you going to do?'" says Grant, one of a handful of chefs allowed onto the Disney campus to cook for the athletes. "I was like, 'I'm going to go back to work.'"
Work, for Grant, means acting as the personal chef to one of the league's elite: Carmelo Anthony. A New Jersey native with an extensive résumé, she linked up with Anthony five years ago, when he played for the New York Knicks, and followed him as struggled to find a home late in his career, bouncing from Oklahoma City to Houston and then, finally, Portland—and from there into the bubble, where she provided home-cooked meals with ingredients imported from Brooklyn and Jamaica, until the Blazers were eliminated in the first round.
With Anthony agreeing to stay in Portland for another season, that means Grant is staying, too. And starting next month, regular people will get a taste of what some of the world's greatest athletes have been enjoying: In February, she's launching a pop-up at River Pig Saloon in the Pearl, where she'll serve Caribbean cuisine learned from her childhood spent in the kitchen with her Jamaican grandmother.
In this interview with WW A&C Editor Matthew Singer, Grant talks about her experience in the bubble, what to expect from her pop-up, and her opinions on the Portland food scene. And she answers the most obvious question: What is Carmelo Anthony's favorite thing to eat?
See more Distant Voices interviews here.