NAME: Pierre Thiam
BORN: June 2nd
NATIONALITY: Dakar, Senegal
PROFESSION: Chef, restaurateur and cookbook author
ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT: Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Chemistry.
SOCIAL HANDLES: Facebook page: Pierre Thiam and Instagram: @chefpierrethiam
Pierre Thiam is a World renowned chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author. He started by pursuing a degree in physics and chemistry at the city’s Cheikh Anta Diop University until a countrywide student strike in the 1980’s led him to apply to school in Ohio to finish his degree. But along the line,
Thiam started working at a restaurant after all of his money was stolen during a stopover in New York City en route to his new university, and he quickly gained interest in food preparation.
Starting literally from the bottom as a bus boy, he steadily climbed up the culinary ladder to Chef de cuisine at Boom and Two Rooms and acquainted diners with African-inspired tasting menus. By 2001 he opened his first restaurant, Yolele , a visionary African bistro in Brooklyn. His second one followed three years later. Le Grand Dakar quickly became a culinary and cultural locus for Africans from the continent and the Diaspora as well as African-aficionados.
Thiam is currently an Executive Chef at the , Nok by Alara in Lagos, Nigeria that features a fine dining pan-African experience that caters to the who’s who of Africa such as 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 and NBA basketball player Joakim Noah.
His cookbook Yolele! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal , was a nominated finalist of the IACP Julia Child Cookbook Award and a Special Jury Award Winner at The Gourmand World Cookbook in Paris, France. It is currently featured in the Cultural Expressions section at the Smithsonian’s New Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).
Our celebrity chef is the co-founder of — Yolele foods and Teranga. He was awarded a James Beard Award for International Cooking.