Photography Pierre Thiam  Chef Ambassador. Cook & Chef Institute
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Pierre Thiam

Signature Chef

Chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author, Pierre Thiam was raised in Dakar, Senegal, a bustling and culturally diverse metropolis on the west coast of Africa. Although he developed an interest in the culinary arts at an early age, he studied physics and chemistry from the city’s Cheikh Anta Diop University.  Thiam moved to New York in the late 1980s...

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Chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author, Pierre Thiam was raised in Dakar, Senegal, a bustling and culturally diverse metropolis on the west coast of Africa. Although he developed an interest in the culinary arts at an early age, he studied physics and chemistry from the city’s Cheikh Anta Diop University.  Thiam moved to New York in the late 1980s where he began working in a number of restaurants. His bottom-level entry steadily led upward, and by early 2000 he opened his first restaurant, Yolele, a visionary African bistro in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. His second outlet, Le Grand-Dakar Restaurant followed, opening in neighboring Clinton Hill three years later; it quickly became a culinary and cultural locus for Africans from the continent and the Diaspora. 

Currently he is the Executive Chef of Nok by Alara in Lagos, Nigeria and he owns Pierre Thiam Catering, which introduces a diverse, savvy New York clientele to contemporary interpretations of ethnic flavors; he also serves as consulting chef for a number of restaurants in the City and beyond.
 
When out of his own kitchen, Thiam regularly gives lectures and cooking classes at venues such as the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE), The International Culinary Center (ICC), Boston University (BU), New York University (NYU), The New School, The Natural Gourmet Institute, Minnesota Institute of Arts (MIA), Dartmouth College, City University of NY (CUNY), State University of NY (SUNY), Florida State University, North Carolina Central University, University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), St Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts.
 
On the global front, Thiam introduced leading world culinary figures to the complexity and richness of African cuisine, by organizing and hosting a trip to Dakar for a dozen visiting chefs from around the world. Thiam was a guest chef at the Havana Biennial (Cuba), and he received the African Travel Association’s Development of Responsible Tourism Award in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (Southern Africa). Thiam presented a menu themed “Underutilized African Crops” for delegates of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and of the African Union (AU) in Kinshasa (DRC). Thiam was a guest speaker at several ATA’s World Congress including Kampala (Uganda), Buea (Cameroon), Banjul (Gambia) and Dakar (Senegal).
 
Thiam was a guest chef at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto (Canada).
 
Thiam gave a lecture on fonio, an ancient African grain, at the Mediterranean Conference on the Amalfi Coast (Italy). 
 
During the Climate Conference in Paris (COP21), Thiam presented a live demo on insects cooking, the protein of the future.
 
His first cookbook, Yolele! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal (Lake Isle Press, 2009), was a finalist for the Julia Child Cookbook Award, 2009, presented by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in Denver. Yolele! Also won the Gourmand World Cookbook’s Special Jury Award during the Paris 2010 World Cookbook Fair. 
 
Thiam’s latest book, Senegal, Modern Recipes from the Source to the Bowl (Lake Isle Press), was released in September 2015 and was nominated for the James Beard Awards Best International Cookbook of 2016.
 
Thiam has appeared on several TV and radio programs, including the Food Network's Iron Chef, Gourmet Getaways, Sara’s Secrets, ABC's Eyewitness News, NBC's TODAY, NPR’s Splendid Table and CNN International, CNN Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain. 

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Recipes. The Cook & Chef Institute
 
Recipes by Pierre Thiam