The past few months of near endless cooking have led me in search of pantry staples beyond my usual rice, quinoa, and pasta. While it’s a late addition to my kitchen, this ancient West African grain is by no means new; Farmers in West Africa have been growing fonio for thousands of years. Yolélé, a joint venture between chef Pierre Thiam, who grew up in Senegal, and entrepreneur Philip Teverow, aims to bring the grain to the American market. “I’ve dreamed of bringing the signature ingredients of West African kitchens to a global audience to provide a source of income for subsistence farmers in the Sahel region,” Thiam says. All told, Yolélé fonio goes from the bag to the plate in about seven minutes.
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