Yolélé

A purpose-driven African food company currently specializing in the African supergrain- fonio.

Company overview

Date Established:
2017
Description:
A purpose-driven African food company currently specializing in the African supergrain- fonio.
Founder:
Founders:
Pierre Thiam
,
Philip Teverow
,
Headquarters:
Brooklyn, NY USA
Industry:
Food
Social Media:
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about

Yolélé is a purpose-driven African food company founded in 2017 to share the continent’s many delicious ingredients with the world and revolutionize food production. Yolélé's first ingredient platform is fonio, a culinarily flexible and nutrient-dense grain hailing from West Africa. This eco-friendly, gluten-free, vitamin-rich, and low GI supergrain boasts a light, nutty flavour and can be used as a healthier alternative to rice, couscous, quinoa, or polenta. By restoring degraded soil, fonio farmers across the African Sahel benefit from both its numerous health benefits and life-saving income. Yolélé is now a leading African food brand that seeks to improve the grain’s entire value chain by collaborating with organizations and agricultural researchers that complement their important mission. With the support of NGOs and experts at universities across the US, Yolélé continues to offer invaluable input and services to smallholder farmers and local West African food processors. Its health-conscious founders work with import and distribution companies like Woodland Foods to provide professional chefs, foodies, and food manufacturers with organic specialty ingredients.

founding story

In the early 2000s, Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam recalls roasting a whole lamb on the sidewalk in front of his restaurant in Brooklyn. Philip Teverow, a natural and specialty food industry consultant, happened to walk by and knew he needed to learn more about Pierre’s intriguing recipe. The two became fast friends and partnered up when they realized they could put their experience and expertise to good use for a greater purpose. Together, co-founders Pierre and Philip assembled a global audience for traditional African ingredients by providing subsistence farmers with a sustainable living wage through their work.

Bios

Pierre Thiam
Co-Founder + President
Pierre Thiam is a celebrated chef, restaurateur, award-winning cookbook author, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Senegal, he is known for his innovative cooking style, at once modern and eclectic yet rooted in the rich culinary traditions of West Africa. He is the chef and owner of critically acclaimed Harlem, NY restaurant Teranga, which serves fast-casual West African fare directly sourced from farmers in the region. Pierre is the author of three cookbooks including his latest, The Fonio Cookbook, released in October 2019. He has won numerous awards and accolades for his cooking and advocacy. He is on the board of directors for two global nonprofits, IDEO.org and SOS Sahel.
Philip Teverow
Co-Founder + CEO
Phil is a food industry veteran who pioneered the introduction of unusual ingredients to the US as the director of the Dean & DeLuca brand for thirteen years, during the company’s rise from owner-operated shop to multinational retailer. As a consultant for food entrepreneurs for nearly 20 years, Phil has worked with culinary stars like Marcus Samuelsson as well as international food manufacturers seeking to expand their audience globally. Phil has long provided pro bono mentoring at Hot Bread Kitchen, Brooklyn Foodworks and other platforms for food entrepreneurs. He and Pierre met on the street in Bed Stuy in 2015.

Products

YOLÉLÉ FONIO

Fonio is a tiny, nutritious, ancient West African grain that cooks in just 5 minutes. It’s light and fluffy and just a bit nutty. Fonio is a versatile alternative to rice, quinoa, and more. 

YOLÉLÉ FONIO

$
7.00
Description:

Fonio is a tiny, nutritious, ancient West African grain that cooks in just 5 minutes. It’s light and fluffy and just a bit nutty. Fonio is a versatile alternative to rice, quinoa, and more. 

Details:
GF, Vegan, Non-GMO, Low Glycemic, High in amino Acids, Kosher
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YOLÉLÉ FONIO PILAFS

Yolele's pilafs are available in 6 blends inspired by the treasured dishes and ingrerdients of West Africa: Jollof, Yassa!, Greens!, Dakar Curry, and Afro-Funk. Fonio pilafs are light, fluffy, and are ready to eat in just 5 minutes.

YOLÉLÉ FONIO PILAFS

$
7.00
Description:

Yolele's pilafs are available in 6 blends inspired by the treasured dishes and ingrerdients of West Africa: Jollof, Yassa!, Greens!, Dakar Curry, and Afro-Funk. Fonio pilafs are light, fluffy, and are ready to eat in just 5 minutes.

Details:
GF, Vegan, Non-GMO, Low Glycemic, High in amino Acids, Kosher 6 Flavor Blends: Greens! (moringa & spinach) Jollof (tomato & bell pepper) Yassa! (onion, lime & chili) Dakar Curry Afro-Funk (dawadawa & herbs)
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retailers

The Fresh Market
Whole Foods
Amazon
Thrive Market

press releases

Press articles

Bon Appetit
The Senegalese Chef Behind America’s New Favorite Supergrain
Pierre Thiam used to have to smuggle fonio from West Africa into the U.S. Now he’s getting it into as many of the country's restaurants and grocery stores as he can.
The Washington Post
Is fonio the new quinoa? One chef hopes the tiny West African grain will be.
Pierre Thiam shares fonio and recipes with The Washington Post.
The New York Times Magazine
A Chef’s Dream to Restore an Ancient West African Grain
A profile story on Yolele's co-founder Pierre Thiam and how he is bringing the ancient African supergrain, fonio, to the masses.

testimonial