Kemba Walker, like many NBA players, will return to the NBA’s “bubble” at the end of July to complete the 2020 season. But Walker has one major edge on many players, and it goes far beyond his ability on the basketball court. Walker employs a personal chef.
So what’s the story behind Walker’s chef? Let’s take a closer look at his career, the role diet plays in an athlete’s performance, and the live-in chef who helps Walker play at his best.
Kemba Walker’s career overview
Walker was a collegiate standout for the University of Connecticut Huskies. According to Basketball Reference, the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) selected Walker with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
The pick very quickly paid off, as Walker became one of the lone bright spots on a struggling team. His career averages include 20.0 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, and 4.9 assists per game. He has a career Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 19.4. Walker has been selected for the last four All-Star games.
Following the 2018-2019 season, Walker made a seismic change in his career. He signed a big free-agent contract with the Boston Celtics. Before the NBA shut down due to the coronavirus, Walker was averaging 21.2 points per game. It’s clear the Celtics made the right move in acquiring the 30-year-old.
Walker has had an NBA career most players could only dream of — multiple All-Star selections, an All-NBA team selection, and a major deal putting him in the upper echelon of the league’s earners. So how has he gotten that far? How has he put himself in a position to succeed?
There are likely multiple reasons, but one big one for him — and for any successful athlete — is his diet.
The role of a professional athlete’s diet success
Think of every human’s body as a machine. Each machine may have different functions it serves, but they all have the same basic requirements to operate.
People need at least some exercise to stay fit. They need sunlight as well for vitamin D. But most importantly, they need a nutritious, well-balanced diet to ensure optimal physical, emotional, and cognitive function. This is true no matter what job duties one may have.
This is doubly true for athletes, and even more so for professional athletes. Their entire living depends on their ability to physically perform at a high level. Pro athletes need to be in peak physical shape, and it’s impossible to do so on a bad diet.
As scientists discover more and more about the impact of food on human performance, athletes are becoming more careful than ever about what they put on their bodies. Gone are the days of the old-time baseball clubhouse lunch spread full of snacks and sweets.
Look at Tom Brady as an example — he’s fashioned an entire lifestyle and product line on his TB12 methodology of fitness and nutrition. Walker may not have gone that far, but he has employed a personal chef to ensure he’s getting the food he needs.
Who is Kemba Walker’s personal chef?
Forbes reported that Walker’s personal chef is named Chianti Peak (she goes by Chef Chianti on Instagram). She started out as a personal chef to former Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton, who hooked her up with Walker. Walker then introduced her to more Charlotte and Boston-area athletes such as Celtics’ center Tacko Fall.
Walker says she’s “loyal” to Walker and that she only currently supports three athletes — Walker, Fall, and Grant Williams, another Celtics player. Peak got the opportunity to quarantine with Walker and Williams and commented on their devotion to physical fitness to Forbes:
“They were very tuned in, working out every single day as if the playoffs were starting tomorrow. We were drinking green juice, eating lean proteins, complex carbs — we were on it every single day. It was amazing. Everybody was on the same page. We were on a mission and now they’re on their way to Orlando.”
Walker is already a tremendous athlete, but with Peak in his kitchen helping him optimize his health, he might become nearly unstoppable.