Born and raised in Dakar, Senegal, the bustling and culturally diverse West African metropolis, Thiam pays homage to traditional West African cuisine through his thoughtful approach to food. He is currently the Co-Founder of Yolélé Foods, a purpose-driven African food company launched in 2017 that specializes in African superfoods. Thiam is also the Executive Chef at the celebrated Nok by Alara in Lagos, Nigeria. His pan-African fine dining menu brings an elevated experience of the African diaspora onto the table. Clientele includes the Who's Who of Africa including Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, the Emir of Kano and the King of Morocco.
Based in New York City, Pierre Thiam Catering introduces contemporary interpretations of ethnic flavors to a diverse, savvy clientele, including UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon, world renowned artist, Kehinde Wiley, and global icon, Dikembe Mutombo.
Thiam is a leading advocate for responsible tourism, as well as a spokesperson for the rich culinary history of Africa and its Diaspora.
He has authored two groundbreaking cookbooks. His first book, Yolele! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal was a nominated finalist of the IACP Julia Child Cookbook Award as well as a Special Jury Award Winner at The Gourmand World Cookbook in Paris. It is currently featured in Cultural Expressions section at the Smithsonian’s New Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington DC.
His second book, SENEGAL: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl was nominated James Beard Award for Best International Cookbook.
Thiam has been featured on numerous TV programs including Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, CNN's Inside Africa and the Food Network's Iron Chef.
He has also spoken on various prominent radio shows including NPR’s "Leonard Lopate Show", “The Splendid Table” and "Here and Now" as well as Martha Stewart Living Radio. His life, career and contribution to African cooking has also been highlighted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, The Village Voice, Boston Globe, Saveur Magazine, Essence Magazine and many others.
A leading advocate for world hunger alleviation, responsible tourism as well as a spokesperson for the rich culinary history of Africa and its Diaspora, Thiam has been invited as a guest lecturer and guest chef across the globe to speak on these topics.
Among many of his civic-minded engagements and accolades, the most notable ones include:
- Receiving the African Travel Association’s Development of Responsible Tourism Award in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (Southern Africa) in June 2012
- Spokesperson for the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) “Recipes for Change” video campaign in preparation for the Paris Climate Change conference (COP21) in October 2015
- Receiving the Zimbabwe Chef Associations’ Medal
His never-ending passion and excitement for African culinary traditions has led him to organize AfroEats in May 2013, the first African Food and Local Products Festival in Dakar in partnership with the Senegalese Ministry of Trade and Industry.
In the spring of 2013, he introduced leading figures in the culinary world to the complexity and richness of African cuisine by organizing and hosting a trip to Dakar for a dozen chefs from around the world.
Today, he continues to share the culinary world of West Africa with a partnership with Boston University’s West African Research Association for an unforgettable culinary journey in Senegal, a hands-on learning experience-- preparing a number of signature West African dishes such as Ndole, Egussi, Yassa,and Thieboudienne, as well as gaining a new understanding of West Africa through its cuisine.
CHEF DE CUISINE AT BOOM (SOHO, NYC)
CHEF DE CUISINE AT BANG (SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI)
CHEF DE CUISINE AT TWO ROOMS (MIDTOWN, NYC)
OPENS YOLELE IN BROOKLYN
OPENS LE GRAND DAKAR IN BROOKLYN
PUBLISHES "YOLELE! RECIPES FROM THE HEART OF SENEGAL"
“YOLELE!” IS A NOMINATED FINALIST OF THE IACP JULIA CHILD COOKBOOK AWARD
“YOLELE!” WINS A SPECIAL JURY AWARD AT THE GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK IN PARIS, FRANCE
THIAM RECEIVES THE SUNUNET DIASPORA PRIZE FOR HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE CULINARY ARTS OF SENEGAL IN DAKAR, SENEGAL
THIAM RECEIVES THE AWARD FOR DEVELOPMENT OF RESPONSIBLE TOURISM BY THE AFRICAN TRAVEL ASSOCIATION (ATA) IN VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE
THIAM RECEIVES THE ZIMBABWE CHEF ASSOCIATIONS’ MEDAL
THIAM IS A CONTRIBUTOR IN “10 DINNERS IN HAVANA”, BASED ON THE AMERICAN AND CUBAN CHEFS COLLABORATION DURING HAVANA BIENNIAL 2012
CO-ORGANIZES AFROEATS, FIRST AFRICAN FOOD AND LOCAL PRODUCTS FESTIVAL IN DAKAR IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE SENEGALESE MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY
LAUNCHES A CULINARY TRIP TO SENEGAL INTRODUCING WITH CHEFS FROM THE US, FRANCE, CHINA, CAMEROON, COTE D’IVOIRE AND TOGO
FEATURED CHEF AT THE UNITED NATIONS FOR THE DINNER IN COMMEMORATION OF SLAVERY, NY
PUBLISHES "SENEGAL: MODERN SENEGALESE RECIPES FROM THE SOURCE TO THE BOWL"
CO-HOSTS DINNER WITH CARLA HALL AT FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL, NY
SPOKESPERSON FOR INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT (IFAD) “RECIPES FOR CHANGE” CAMPAIGN IN PREPARATION FOR PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE COP 21
EXECUTIVE CHEF AT NOK BY ALARA (LAGOS, NIGERIA)
"SENEGAL" IS A FINALIST FOR THE JAMES BEARD AWARD FOR BEST INTERNATIONAL COOKBOOK
FEATURED ON CNN’S anthony bourdain's PARTS UNKNOWN EPISODE ON SENEGAL
GUEST CHEF AT REFETTORIO GASTROMOTIVA IN RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL AND JOINS CHEF MASSIMO BOTURRA AND OTHER WORLD-RENOWNED CHEFS TO TURN LEFT OVER FOOD FROM THE SUMMER OLYMPICS INTO GOURMET MEALS FOR THE POOREST OF RIO’S RESIDENTS
GUEST CHEF AT UNITED NATIONS DELEGATE DINING ROOM, NY
THIAM'S WORK AND HIS BOOK YOLELE IS FEATURED IN THE CULTURAL EXPRESSIONS SECTION AT THE SMITHSONIAN’S NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE (NMAAHC)
GUEST CHEF AT ULTIMO 2017 AND JOINS THOMAS KELLER AND OTHER CELEBRITY CHEFS FOR A LAS VEGAS DINNER EXTRAVAGANZA
LAUNCHES YOLELE FOODS, A PURPOSE DRIVEn AFRICAN FOOD COMPANY SPECIALIZING IN FONIO AND OTHER AFRICAN SUPERFOODS