With the new normal putting the events and culinary industry in jeopardy, Citi Taste of Tennis has found ways to innovate while uniting the community.
The brainchild of AYS Sports Marketing, Citi Taste of Tennis combines tennis pros and celebrity chefs at multiple stops around the world to help kick off tournaments in Melbourne, Miami, Indian Wells, Washington, D.C. and New York. With tournaments and large gatherings cancelled in 2020, Taste of Tennis turned virtual.
Learn more about Citi Taste of Tennis' mission from co-founder Penny Lerner:
First they started with #WhatsinURKitchen to help players stay engaged with their fans and show off their cooking skills. Popular faces like Sofia Kenin, Bob and Mike Bryan, Andrea Petkovic, Sam Querrey and Shelby Rogers all took part.
The Taste of Tennis team then launched an Instagram show led by Evan King called "Off the Court" and hosted a virtual cooking class with chef Richard Blais and actor Omar Benson Miller.
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For their clients, they've gone a step further and organized three virtual events with super stars Maria Sharapova, John McEnroe and Billie Jean King. Appropriately dubbed the Legend Series, clients receive a box of ingredients from Carmelized Productions and tap a link to cook alongside a celebrity chef and tennis legend.
Packed carefully in ice and mini containers, the supplies arrive measured out perfectly for the recipe. Sharapova was blown away by the packaging, saying that it has spoiled her for life, though she still loathes having to clean up.
Her culinary event was last week and she cooked (virtually) alongside Top Chef's Blais while chatting with host Prakash Amritraj. After Blais informed Sharapova that his children recognize her from Shark Tank, not tennis, they got to work whipping up whole wheat spaghetti zucchini pesto and chocolate avocado pudding.
So much fun last night with the Citi Taste of Tennis Legend Series. What an incredible time cooking and chatting virtually with @mariasharapova . I hope you had as much fun as I did! Please be sure to follow @tasteoftennis for updates on their live and digital events. See you next time!
Though the dessert was gluten-free, Sharapova told everyone she is "gluten-full." To the surprise of no one, the Sugarpova CEO has a huge sweet tooth, and that hasn't changed, even in retirement.
Guests got to ask questions through the chat function and learned that Sharapova is still a big fan of Russian cuisine as she grew up eating her mom's cooking of borsch, cabbage rolls, hearty vegetable soup, and meat and potato dishes.
In the next virtual Legends events, King will be joined by award-winning chef and author JJ Johnson followed two weeks later by the doubles duo of McEnroe and chef Marc Murphy.