A climate-resilient ancient grain with Pierre Thiam of Yolélé (2022)

Pierre Thiam is a renowned chef, restaurant owner, cookbook author, and co-founder of Yolélé – a company working to introduce the world to fonio, an ancient West African grain built for climate change.

But it hasn’t been all sunshine and good harvests for Pierre. In fact, he was robbed just days after he first arrived in New York City from Senegal.

It was 1989, and he had just traveled to the U.S. to study chemistry and physics. This chance incident, however, set Pierre’s life on an entirely different course.

This week on How I Built This Lab, Pierre talks with Guy about his company’s work circulating fonio, a nutrient-dense and drought-resistant food source. Pierre also shares how he overcame cultural norms to embrace his cooking career, and his take on the connection between colonization and the vulnerability of our global food systems.

This episode was produced by Katherine Sypher and edited by John Isabella, with music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was Gilly Moon.

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