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Yolélé! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal
Pierre Thiam


Restaurateur and Senegalese native Pierre Thiam introduces the cuisine of West Africa to a western audience in this pioneering collection of authentic Senegalese recipes that are at once familiar and suprising, down-home and elegant. Yolele! introduces readers to new taste sensations, exotic spins on rice and other familiar ingredients, and foods indigenous to Senegal, such as fonio. From appetizers and street food like Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fritters to seafood dishes like Fish Stew (Caldou) or Black-Eyed Pea Salad (Salatu Niebe), Yolele! brings the tastes of Senegal to the world.


Chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author, Pierre Thiam was raised in Dakar, Senegal, a bustling and diverse metropolis on the west coast of Africa. Pierre came to American to study chemistry in the late 1980s; he ended up working in a restaurant in New York and discovered chemistry of a very different sort.

He worked his way up the ladder from dishwasher to chef before opening his own restaurant. He is the currently Executive Chef of the award-winning restaurant Nok by Alara in Lagos, Nigeria and the Signature Chef of the five-star Pullman Hotel in Dakar, Senegal. He is also the executive chef and co-owner of Teranga, a fast-casual food chain from New York City. His company Yolélé Foods advocates for smallholder farmers in the Sahel by opening new markets for crops grown in Africa; its signature product, Yolélé Fonio, is found in Whole Foods, Amazon, and other retailers across America.

In addition to his role as restaurateur, Pierre is known as a passionate advocate of West African cuisine. His landmark book from Lake Isle Press, The Fonio Cookbook: An Ancient Grain Rediscovered, celebrates the ancient “miracle grain” from his childhood that he believes could help change the world. His s books, Yolele! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal and Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl, were IACP and James Beard finalists, respectively. His TED GLOBAL talk on the subject of fonio in November 2017 has received more than 1.1 million views.

Pierre has shared his love of Senegalese food with the late Anthony Bourdain on CNN's Parts Unknown, Season 7. Other media appearances include the Food Network’s Iron Chef, Gourmet Getaways, Sara’s Secrets, ABC’s Eyewitness News, NBC’s TODAY, and NPR’s Splendid Table. He has also been profiled on CNN’s Inside Africa. He lives in El Cerrito, California with his wife Lisa, their children, and dog Malcolm.


“We would have to be grateful for almost any new contribution to the too-sparse literature of African food. But restaurateur Pierre Thiam’s book on the richly appealing food of his native Senegal is beyond the call. Fresh, lively, and intelligent, Thiam’s “Yolele “ documents, through good strong recipes, fine writing, and much marvelous photography, a fascinating food tradition and the culture in which it is embedded. Reflecting warmth and pride, this highly personal book connects us to those who know, make, and love this food. A most welcome addition to the kitchen shelf! ” -- Nach Waxman, Kitchen Arts & Letters

[H]  Lake Isle Press  /  August 25, 2008

0.89" H x 10.04" L x 8.34" W (2.18 lbs) 192 pages