Chef de cuisine at Boom and Two Rooms
Pierre Thiam

Pierre Thiam is a chef, author, and social activist best known for bringing West African cuisine to the global fine dining world. He is the executive chef and co-founder of Teranga, a fine-casual food chain from New York City that introduces healthy, casual fare directly sourced from farmers in West Africa. Pierre is also the 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.

Born and raised in Dakar, Senegal, Thiam came to the United States in the 1980s to study chemistry. However, after getting a job at a restaurant in New York as a dishwasher he found his life moving on a completely different trajectory. He worked his way up to chef de cuisine at Boom and Two Rooms, where he introduced diners to African-inspired tasting menus. In 2001 he opened up his own restaurant in Brooklyn called Yolélé, which highlighted his passion for fusing traditional Senegalese flavors with modern cooking techniques.

Since then Thiam has opened several successful restaurants around the world, including Nok by Alara in Lagos, Nigeria and Teranga in New York City, both of which showcase the unique flavors and ingredients of Senegal through innovative and delicious dishes.

In addition to his successful culinary career, Thiam is also an accomplished author. He has written several cookbooks, including "Yolele! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal" and "Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl." In his books Thiam shares the rich culinary traditions of his home country and provides readers with the tools and knowledge to create authentic Senegalese dishes at home.

Thiam is known for his philanthropic efforts and his commitment to using his platform to make a positive impact in the world. In 2022 he started the non-profit L+P Foundation with his partner Lisa to “promote diverse, healthy, conscious food cultures across communities,” according to his website. He is also an advocate for the importance of supporting farmers and underutilized crops grown in Africa and promoting food sustainability. Through his company Yolélé, Thiam exports fonio – one of the oldest cultivated grains in the African continent – which has helped bring economic opportunities to the region in Senegal where the grain is grown.   

As a true innovator and visionary, Thiam is dedicated to celebrating and preserving the rich culinary traditions of Senegal while also bringing them to the forefront of the global dining scene. His passion for farmer-sourced and sustainable ingredients, combined with his cooking expertise and dedication to social justice, make him a respected and admired figure in the world of food and beyond. We had to find out more about what inspires the culinary ambassador and the unique places that wine has taken him to. Read on for more.