Chef Pierre Thiam
Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl
On Wednesday June 7th, the WARC videoconference room hosted a lively presentation on Senegalese and West African cuisine and on efforts to valorize and further market local produce, cereals, vegetables and fruits. The gathering was jointly organized by the Dakar Women’s Group (professional women expatriates or diplomats’ spouses) and the West African Research Center (WARC).
The speaker of the day was Chef Pierre Thiam. Chef Thiam, who is known around the world as the ambassador of West African cuisine, headed up the 2017 Tastes of West Africa Culinary Institute that took place in Senegal in February. His restaurant, Nok at Alara, in Lagos continues to receive rave reviews.
The session opened with questions from Professor Barbara Syrrakos, of City College of New York. Presently on sabbatical in Senegal and also a member of the Dakar Women’s Group. In his answers, Chef Thiam retold the story of his leaving Senegal in the mid-seventies to go and try his luck in US higher education institutions. He ended up working in a restaurant as a waiter, became fascinated by cooking and the art of the cook, and ended up becoming a chef. Chef Thiam spoke eloquently about Senegalese cuisine and the need to preserve traditional recipes, which are particularly healthy. He also insisted on the re-introduction and valorization of local produces, vegetables, fruits and roots for their nutritional quality and richness but also as an effort to keep people healthy.
The session was attended by a very eager public who raised many interesting questions expertly fielded by Chef Thiam.