Chef Pierre Thiam To Release Fourth Cookbook Celebrating West African Cooking

West African cuisine, says Chef Pierre Thiam, is all about "variety and community." It's a unique brand of dimensionality, history, and culture that inspired his upcoming cookbook. "Simply West African: Easy, Joyful Recipes for Every Kitchen" is scheduled for publication on September 19, 2023, according to a press release sent to Tasting Table. It's a collection of 80 recipes that shine a spotlight on West African ingredients like yams, okra, beans, leafy greens, lean meats, legumes, and more. Foodies can bring elevated-traditional dishes to their weeknight dinner tables like Chicken Yassa Tacos, Blackened Salmon with Moyo Sauce, and Root Vegetable Mafe. Feed a crowd with Akara Chickpea Fritters, or roll up to the tailgate with Ndambe Nachos featuring black-eyed peas and butternut squash. The name of the game with this collection, says the chef, is "accessibility."

With "Simply West African," Thiam has effectively created the ultimate beginner's guide to West African culinary style. As he writes in the cookbook's intro, "Africa is everywhere. It's in our past, present, and future." To note, he points to the prevalence of dishes like gumbo and jambalaya in America, which directly descended from West African kitchens.

This latest installation in the chef's cookbook oeuvre is particularly personal. The recipes are inspired by the chef's own Senegalese upbringing, and it was co-authored with his wife, author and journalist Lisa Katayama. The cookbook also includes a guide for setting up a West African kitchen and locating certain native ingredients.

Cultural cuisine made contemporary

"Simply West African: Easy, Joyful Recipes for Every Kitchen" is available for pre-order via the Penguin Random House website for $28. In the meantime, interested foodies can check out Thiam's cuisine for themselves at Teranga, the fast-casual West African restaurant in Harlem, of which Thiam is the chef-owner. Teranga is the Wolof word for "hospitality;" the welcoming restaurant is located in The Africa Center across the street from Central Park (and boasts a totally gluten-free menu). Thiam is also the co-founder of Yolélé, a West African grocery platform that connects small independent farmers with home cooks and restaurants in the U.S. Indeed, the chef is all about stoking curiosity in folks who perhaps have never given West African food a second thought.

When Teranga first opened in 2019, Thiam shared, "We believe that African flavors presented in a fast-casual setting are a great fit for New Yorkers' sophisticated palates," via Michelin Guide. "Teranga is as much about propelling African food forward as it is about sharing Africa's impact on cultural traditions all over the world." Now, the chef's upcoming cookbook promises to take this idea to an even greater, more personal level for home cooks everywhere.

Thiam's three previous acclaimed cookbooks include "Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl," as well as "Yolélé: Recipes from the Heart of Senegal" and "The Fonio Cookbook: An Ancient Grain Rediscovered."