Regenerating the Sahal and rediscovering forgotten foods with Chef Pierre Thiam

In this episode, Chef Pierre Thiam takes us on a journey from a boy growing up in coastal Senegal dreaming of becoming a scientist to a young man, who finds himself in downtown Manhattan in the early 90’s. As his story unfolds, we see how sometimes “the fates” have a way of putting us on a path that is very different to what we had envisioned. 

Chef Pierre’s story is fascinating and he shares how these experiences shaped his world view today. He is now a restaurateur and co-founder of Yolélé foods, a food brand that brings us the flavors of west Africa and the superfood grain Fonio. We learn how this ancient, superfood grain has been overlooked and almost even forgotten in the urban areas of West Africa following the adoption of French influenced, colonial food systems. Chef Pierre explains the cultural significance of Fonio as well as its incredible nutritional profile and agricultural impact potential. 

Building a new category involves developing all the parts in the middle (harvesting and processing) for this new ingredient to scale. Chef Pierre describes the leading-edge innovation and advancements in manufacturing that he and his team has made to bring this new grain to global markets. These advancements are a big deal in the world of climate-impacting small cereals and nutrition. 

Pierre tells us about his upbringing and how he had an early understanding of regeneration which included a culture of eating seasonally and understanding how crops need to be planted together to help eachother grow and to combat the advancement of the Sahara desert in Western Africa. He invites us to think about our food in a new way. 

Join us on this heartfelt recording that will have you on the edge of your seat hearing about those early days in the kitchens of NYC to his explorations of the rural deserts of the Sahal. You will feel Pierre’s sincere passion for impacting the people and the land of his youth. 



From the deserts of the Sahal to the kitchens of NYC, this podcast with Chef Pierre Thiam will have you on the edge of your seat and a smile on your face as he shares his story and infectious passion for positively impacting food, people and the planet. Chef Pierre is a renowned Chef and founder of Yolélé, a brand that brings us the flavors of West Africa and the nutritious superfood, ancient grain Fonio. 


Learn more about Yolélé


Lear more about Chef Pierre:


TED Talk with Chef Pierre:

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