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It’s Time for Extreme Hospitality with Pierre Thiam

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It’s our last episode of the season(!) and we’re talking hospitality — what it looks like, what it means, what it does for our souls — and we can think of no better expert to turn to than Pierre Thiam, the trailblazing chef, author, and activist. He talks about how sharing food is a literal blessing, how it can transcend borders, and he also reveals his firm stance on who makes the best jollof. And if you’ve ever wondered how much food is enough food when you’re hosting people? Pierre’s got the answer for that, too.

When I started cooking, it was like early nineties in New York City. At the time, West African food was absent. And to me, I saw it as an opportunity. First of all, I was like, if I’m going to have a career in cooking, I wanted to have a career that gave me opportunity to tell my story. And then I also thought my food had its place in the so-called Food Capital of the world. So it was a way to rewrite the story, and it was a way to share the flavors of my origins, and it was a way to also make to belong, really.

But it was really also, I believe a way to tell my version of the story to this audience who had been used to hearing different stories of Africa, mostly many of it were biased story. The relationship between America and Africa has always been fraught. And that story was coming from the other side, and that wasn’t the Africa that I experienced. So food was the perfect medium to say that story because in food, you taste it and it’s there.

Pierre Thiam

Make sure to check out our guide, 5 Ways to Practice Extreme Hospitality With Pierre Thiam.

An Edited Transcript of Our Convo:

Rebecca Lehrer: You are listening to The Mash-Up Americans. Hi, I’m Rebecca Lehrer.

Amy S. Choi: And I’m Amy Choi, and we are The Mash-Up Americans. And this is our final episode of this season, and it’s all about a core principle of our lives, hospitality.

Rebecca Lehrer: Hospitalité. That’s French.

Amy S. Choi: Hospitalidad. That’s Spanish.

Rebecca Lehrer: We’re going to call it extreme hospitality, if we’re being more accurate.

Amy S. Choi: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Lehrer: Say as first generation, as people who are minorities, as immigrants, this is one of the most important shared cultural traits we have. Hospitality and welcoming in friends and family and new friends and chosen family and neighbors and anyone else via food.

Amy S. Choi: Oh, yes. Just so you know, extreme hospitality means making sure that anybody who comes to our house can never leave unless they’re absolutely stuffed beyond capacity with food. That they have presents, that they leave with leftovers, the usual. They have their own set of house slippers, that also feels important.

Rebecca Lehrer: Oh, of course. I mean, get out of here. Also that you’re planning what the food it’s going to be for your guests for the whole week before.

Amy S. Choi: Correct. That feels important. And our guest today totally gets it. We’re so excited to have him here. Pierre Thiam is a celebrated Senegalese mash-up chef with restaurants in Dakar, Lagos, New York City. He’s a food entrepreneur whose company Yolélé Foods is really like a culinary ambassador for West African food staples. And finally, he’s a cookbook author, and his most recent cookbook, Simply West Africa, is an homage to his ancestral cooking and also a statement against borders, and for the extreme hospitalidad that we love so much.

Rebecca Lehrer: We were so honored to sit down with Pierre recently. So, let’s go. Oh, also, he has a very clear and definitive answer to the jollof wars, and we are into it.

Amy S. Choi: Oh, let’s see what happens.

Rebecca Lehrer: I do have one really important question from your tours around West Africa, and that is, who makes the best jollof rice?

Amy S. Choi: Because you’re going to start a war.

Rebecca Lehrer: I mean, I have some questions.

Pierre Thiam: It’s the most beautiful war out there. You would agree, right?

Rebecca Lehrer: The Latin American version is that I’m starting a tamale war. No one’s on board yet, but I’m like, Mexican tamales versus Central American. I know who wins, but we don’t have-

Pierre Thiam: Well, the tamale war is interesting because lot of people don’t realize that Mexico and lots parts of Latin America had a strong West African influence. Mexico at some point was the largest by far of the West African migration during the Middle Passage by far. And then it’s not talked about enough. But when you look at the regions of Mexico that has the Afro-Mexican influence, and you look at the food, you wonder, hey, I mean ingredients like rice arrived to the Americas from Africa. It is a family of rice. That’s not the Asian rice. There’s two big rice. It’s a Oryza glaberrima and Oryza sativa. The Oryza African, the glaberrima one is the one that was taken from West Africa to North Carolina, then South Carolina, then Mexico, then Brazil. That same family of rice that brought a big influence in the cuisines of the region. So that’s one.

Second is tamale, right? So tamale in Veracruz where Mexico tamale is from, Veracruz and Puebla, that region, they still wrap their tamale the way we do it in West Africa, in Nigeria, in banana leaves instead of corn husk like they do in other parts. We wrap it in banana leaves, we still do it, but the feeling changes. It could be with beans, I mean it varies doing other parts, but that’s original tamale is arguably coming from, I’m not saying we do the best one, even though we have-

Rebecca Lehrer: Oh no, I believe actually strongly that the banana leaf tamale is the better. And in Central America where my mom is from, they’re all banana leaf tamales. Well, they do a corn one and I don’t like it, and it’s too dry. If I’m going to have a battle, it’s going to be this one. And I believe that the other ones are too dry and the banana leaves are so moist and delicious.

Pierre Thiam: Exactly.

Rebecca Lehrer: I never knew that.

Pierre Thiam: That food being opportunity to tell a story because it traces you. I mean, you connect the ingredients, you connect the arrival. I mean the rice for instance, how you never knew, but imagine Mexican food without rice. So that’s-

Rebecca Lehrer: Impossible.

Pierre Thiam: …one really important contribution. So talk about rice now, jollof rice. jollof is Senegal. jollof is the traditional name for Senegal. Yeah. Before it became Senegal, that was the jollof kingdom. And the jollof kingdom is the place where the jollof rice is from. Nigerians call it jollof rice, right? Because it came from the jollof people, Ghanaians call it jollof rice because they came from that place. Now they claim to make the best one. And that’s the type of war you can’t really compete with because every mama makes the best. So the Ghanaians. So that’s the thing. But I love it. I love it because this, again, a way to see food as an agent of unity, really.

It’s like that’s one ingredient and how it transcends borders too, which is really something that we need to pause and think about it. It transcends borders. It’s embraced by the cultures, but it also takes specific ways of that culture because of the environment. And then the Ghanaian jollof becomes more like smoky and crusty and the Nigerian jollof becomes hot, spicier because they love that type of heat. And the Senegalese jollof is the original one, and mine is the best obviously.

Rebecca Lehrer: Wait, in your restaurant in Lagos, do you serve?

Pierre Thiam: Senegalese.

Rebecca Lehrer: And what do the Nigerian customers say?

Pierre Thiam: Well, it’s been a destination in Lagos since we opened. It’s at the place that we receive the locals as well as the expatriate. I mean, consistently we’ve been getting great reviews. We do not only the jollof, but we do food that’s inspired by West Africa, which is a great concept as well. Again, another way how food is a powerful weapon is through that restaurant concept in Lagos. We wanted the food to transcend the borders even more, to tell the real stories because those borders are not real.

Rebecca Lehrer: They are not.

Pierre Thiam: Especially when it comes to Africa. Those borders were imposed upon us in some place in Berlin some time ago that had no reality with what the continent was going through. But that just for the interest of the colonialists. So through this food, we are reclaiming this who we are without these borders that were imposed upon us. And that’s why my last book that I’ve co-written with my wife, Lisa, we call it Simply West Africa for that reason, Simply West African, because you see jollof in Ghana, jollof in Senegal. And what is Ghana and Senegal anyway? So there’s like those things that are not really real, and we want to be part of the conversation by doing that with food.

Amy S. Choi: You and I, we met in 2019, which feels like a lifetime ago, and we met at this wild conference that was not really a conference organized by John Maeda. It was like an anti-Ted of all of these thinkers and leaders and creatives and artists in this random hotel in Cape Cod. It was so beautiful. You were there with your lovely wife, Lisa, and I just remember, I don’t even know if it was in passing, but you said something about how hospitality is about opening up your culture, and that has always stuck with me. And so I wonder, just to start off this conversation, what does hospitality mean to you? How do you define it?

Pierre Thiam: That’s an excellent question. I’m from Senegal, right? And Senegal, we have a word for hospitality. Teranga. And teranga is one of our highest value. I mean, teranga is the word that symbolizes it. As a matter of fact, all our national teams soccer team, they’re all called Lions of Teranga. And Teranga is more than just hospitality. The way you would translate it here, it’s really the way of giving the best of what you have. So in Senegal, you come to Senegal Amy and you go to any home, even if you are not expected, you would be offered something and usually it would be food. They would want to share that with you. And if you come for a meal that’s planned, you would realize that we eat around the bowl and the way we eat around the bowl, the meats and the vegetables are in the middle, and it’s on the bed of grains usually. And the meats and the vegetables, you have to wait until it’s served to you by the mother or the person who has cooked the food and you, who’s the guest, and they want to express their hunger to you.

They would give you the choicest parts all the time and all of that to say how this belief of offering, especially the unexpected guest, offering him the food, is a belief that an expected guest, the foreigner, the other is actually some sort of an angel. That’s a superstition, right? It’s an angel that’s bringing some blessings to you. And for you to receive those blessings, you have to make sure that person gets some of your food. And so you as Amy, even if you didn’t feel like eating, you have to take at least a bite of that food for those people in Senegal to feel like they have expressed their hunger to you. So it’s really something that we strongly believe in. My restaurants in New York are called Teranga for that reason, and that’s a world that you’d see across Senegal when you travel, you’ll see it everywhere.

Amy S. Choi: It’s just so beautiful Pierre, how you describe Teranga as beyond a simple act. And it’s beyond habit or tradition, but it’s almost spiritual. The idea that somebody coming into your home unexpectedly is an angel coming to bless your family. And that is how I hope that we can think about the humans that we interact with, that we come in contact with completely serendipitously or by accident. You have no idea how you’ve encountered this being or this person or this community, and you’re like, but I’m going to take this as a gift, and so let me give a gift back to you. And there’s just something really profound about that that I wish we had that in all cultures. I think there are versions of it probably, but there’s something so special about how you describe it in Senegal. What are the rules of receiving in Senegal, or what do you think is the most gracious way to accept a gift? I think that’s actually really hard for people. Similarly too, I think people have a really hard time taking a compliment, right? Like the immediate response,

Rebecca Lehrer: Oh, this old thing?

Amy S. Choi: Yeah. Oh, it was nothing. It was no big deal. When it’s like, no, this is, again, that’s an offering, right? A compliment is an offering. So what’s the best way to take in a gift like that?

Pierre Thiam: It’s just the whole context. The culture is different. The right way to receive it is actually to receive it. And if you unexpected and you come to a house and they give you something, you have to at least, even if you’re not hungry, you have to take a spoonful and eat or take a handful. We eat with our hands too, the food tastes better this way, so receive it. Refusing is not correct, and it’s actually denying the blessings that I’m trying to get from you. So there’s that thing. And it is also, I mentioned culturally because we come from a place where our tradition, the society, the way it was organized, we have something called the griots, right? The storytellers, and the storytellers are there at all the family events, all the occasions.

And they dare to tell the story of your line. I mean, they go way back. It’s a family in its own self, and that’s transmitted from generation to generation. And to get back to food, I like to see us as griots as food tellers because when you look at the food that we represent in the traditional West African food, it’s food that’s been transmitted from generation to generation, from mother to daughters, from grandmother to mother, and each of those recipes is a story.

Rebecca Lehrer: How as a person who is raising your children in the U.S., who’s the griot for you here, how do you make sure or how has it evolved if it’s different than that, that your children hear the story of their lineage, whether your lineage, Lisa’s lineage, who tells that story to them?

Pierre Thiam: Now it’s becomes our responsibility, both Lisa and I, and yeah, we are both passionate about our culture. So that’s important. I think it’s important that the kids, our children stay connected to the story, that part of the story. And maybe we not as eloquent as a griot, because that’s just a skill in its own self, but it’s important that they know the story. I mean, for me, even being in the kitchen as a career and intentionally deciding to revisit the food of my origins, because when I started cooking, it was like early nineties in New York City. At the time, African food was absent, West African food was. And to me, I saw it as an opportunity. First of all, I was like, if I’m going to have a career in cooking, I wanted to have a career that gave me opportunity to tell my story.

And then I also thought my food had its place in the, so-called Food Capital of the world. So it was a way to rewrite the story, and it was a way to share the flavors of my origins, and it was a way to also make to belong, really. And that sense of belonging led me to opening restaurants, writing cookbooks, and launching CPG and stuff like this. But it was really also, I believe a way to tell my version of the story to this audience who had been used to hearing different stories of where I was from different stories of Africa, mostly many of it were biased story. The relationship between America and Africa has always been fraught. And that story was coming from the other side, and that wasn’t the Africa that I experienced. So food was the perfect medium to say that story because in food, you taste it and is there. And also connecting that food with the middle Passage and southern food and the whole Americas, and you realize that, hey, we’ve been present, that food is not so unfamiliar.

Amy S. Choi: I love that idea of food being an opportunity for you to rewrite and revise your story of self as well, to say, no, actually this is significant for so many reasons and you don’t even know. So let me share this with you. And that what you’re giving to everybody who eats at one of your restaurants, which are amazing, and I have eaten at, is that blessing, is that same blessing, is that same offering of not just you, but of everything that is important to you. I just think there’s something so magical about that. You casually mentioned all of the different ways that your career has evolved, but you are an accomplished chef.

You’re a cookbook author, you’re a food entrepreneur, you’re a food distributor, you’re a restaurateur. You have brought West African foods broadly into the U.S market that didn’t exist before, and it’s just been this career made of food. Do you remember when you first knew that this was going to be your life, or do you have a food memory that you were like, oh, this is it. This is how I know what my trajectory is going to be, is going to be focused on this?

Pierre Thiam: Well, first of all, when I studied this journey, I never imagined that I would be doing all of this. This started with food from memory. I was working at restaurants. I worked at Italian, French restaurants, American restaurants, and looking for my food. And then the opportunity was when you cook family meal, which is the staff meal at the restaurant, when it’s my turn, I look for the memory, the food that I miss. It starts with me, really the food that I miss. And then I’m like, oh, today I’m going to make this peanut sauce and this peanut sauce, I’m going to serve it to the staff. And the staff obviously never had it. And looking at their reaction, I’m like, they like it, tomorrow I do another, the next time I do. And that’s how it really started and really started to be these memory recipes, being writing them down and realizing that there is a room for it.

These are great flavors, this is great food, this is healthy, it’s nutritious. There’s so much going for it, and it’s not seen here. You see versions of it when you look at certain food. You look at gumbo, it’s our food. Hey, but we have to claim it. So that was my thing. I was claiming it, and I was kind of also reconnecting with my roots. As I’m digging deeper, I’m going to keep or doing my own research and share it with the world. But doing my research meant traveling, exploring visiting mothers and going to market everywhere in West Africa and just taking all of those and putting it down on paper for books or testing it at my restaurants. And that was this journey that kept taking me further and further, and I realized that it’s a mission. It was a mission not only to be an ambassador for my food culture, but I felt like I’m a custodian of this cuisine. And so I was blessed by opportunities that kept taking me to greater stages of audiences.

Rebecca Lehrer: It is very similar, I think, our missions about re-centering the story. So another family meal, you would assume, oh, we’re going to make pasta or some, I don’t even know what French things are, whatever.

Amy S. Choi: Cheese and bread.

Rebecca Lehrer: Yeah, I mean, I like all those things, but you are like, oh, okay, but I’m going to make peanut sauce. And as you said, and that is just moving the window over. It’s to say, why wouldn’t the window be here? And I think that’s part of what our mission is too. It’s sort of a deep inner confidence in our own value and culture to say, this isn’t about negating anyone else’s, but ours is fantastic and we want to invite you into it. And I think it’s just really beautiful to hear you describe it.

Amy S. Choi: As you’re speaking Pierre, I think everything you’re saying about kind of boundary-lessness or just removing those borders is also what it’s like, what love is. It’s what that gift-giving is. It’s what Teranga is saying. Here’s this exchange of love and of food as an expression of our love. I really think that, and you’re saying it here, is that one of the most beautiful ways to hold hands with another person is to share a meal with them, particularly if it’s a meal that tells a story about yourself. And I love that this has been something that has been evolving and growing for you and that you’re sharing it across continents now.

Rebecca Lehrer: I’ve been grieving a very close family member in the last couple of weeks, and in Jewish tradition, there’s a lot of feeding people during this time, and it’s really beautiful. It’s feeding the alive people and taking care. And I’m curious, what is a Senegalese sort of grieving tradition holding people, and what are some of the food and hospitable ways that play into that tradition?

Pierre Thiam: Similarly, in my Senegal cookbook, I do talk about it because food is there at every moment of your life from the birth to the end, to death. And I talked about my father’s funeral, my father’s passing, and through the food, I mean, so many people show up to the funeral because there’s going to be food. And sometimes you don’t even know if those people really knew your father or anything. What fascinated me when my father passed and I saw a bull being dragged into the courtyard and the bull being slaughtered there, and then the way the organization skilled, because I mean, the bull is slaughtered by the man, and then immediately it’s cut into pieces and then into huge balls, and you see these big logs of wood to make fire, and they start cooking in this amazing thing.

And the next day you have these big platters of these most delicious pilafs and yassa with onion and lime and this beef, each part of the beef was a different meal. And then the whole house and courtyard and people eating outside, it goes even to the neighbor’s house because that’s the community. So everyone is contributing, and the food is amazing. How you can cook so much food with open fire, and it’s like happening like that for a whole period of time. And then they’ll come back a week later for another way of celebrating him through food again. And then 40 days later, and then the following year at the anniversary, his food is always there.

Amy S. Choi: It just also reminds you that you’re alive.

Pierre Thiam: Yeah, he’s alive. And that’s right, we grieve, but we also know that it’s not the end and we want to make sure he’s celebrated, especially when that person is older. You even see dancing. People are dancing, they’re sad, but they’re dancing. And then you have in the tradition from July, it’s like a tradition. It’s the part of Senegal where people are more animist or Christian, even though Senegal is mostly Muslim. But you see libation people pouring some wine and palm wine and the drinks that they would like when they were alive, they pour it and they talk to them as they pour it, and they’re like, Hey, and it’s just beautiful.

I mean, for someone from a different culture, you would be scratching your head, we’d be fascinated too, it’s quite a way to see how the dead are not dead in our culture. And now he see that the dead is everywhere now, more so than it was when he or she was alive. Now the dead is in the ground, in the leaves, in the wind, in the water running. I mean, and they see it. And this is just, you see it if you’re from that culture, you accept it.

Rebecca Lehrer: But when you say that, actually funnily enough, there’s so many parallels that actually it would feel extremely familiar, even the structure of it. Right away, seven days, 40 days, or in Judaism it’s 30 days and then a year. It’s the exact same structure because I think those are human time. I mean, as we’ve talked about the arbitrary nature of a border or somebody imposing certain borders. There’s also so much of culture that is not arbitrary at all. It’s completely comes from human need and experience. It’s like you need that. You need to know as the son of this person that your father was loved, that you are alive, that he will continue in the trees and in our souls, and it makes perfect sense somehow without needing to apply whatever physics to it or something. It all makes sense to me

Pierre Thiam: A hundred percent. And the deeper, the further back we go, the closer we will get together. We take out all those layers of things that we added to separate us, and we realized that we all have so much in common. I mean, working with Lisa, for instance, she’s from Japan, I’m from Senegal and realizing the similarities in even the food, the way we approach food. I mean, we both, even our rice growing traditionally in Senegal, when we harvest the rice, we have a part that goes into the altar and the Japanese do the similar thing the way we use fermenting into our cooking. They use the same thing. As a matter of fact, we have a fermented ingredient we call Dawadawa, and it’s a fermented bean, the similar bacteria that the Japanese use in their fermented natto. It is. So it’s fascinating. If you look and you really want to see, you will see so many similarities between Jewish and Africans and Asians and everyone really.

Amy S. Choi: I have a question. You were talking earlier about all the stories that are passed through from grandmother to daughter and to sons to you as well. What is of your cooking, of the dishes that you’ve made, or maybe it’s in the simply West African, your new cookbook, but what is the most important story that you wanted to share of your family or of one of your ancestors?

Pierre Thiam: Well, to be transparent, I even talk about it in the book. I ask people as they cook the recipes from the book to approach it in the way my mom would approach it. My mom actually started with me taking recipes from her because as you imagine growing up in Senegal, cooking was a gender-based activity, and boys weren’t in the kitchen. And it is only when I really got into cooking that I went, started calling mom and taking recipes and she would be here and trying to see this new American boy now trying to write down things and asking questions like how many teaspoons and how many minutes? And that’s not how she would cook. And she would smile and laugh at me and say, that’s not how it goes. And over time we realized the way we cook is cooking with the senses and cooking with the senses meant for my mom, you have to be present in the kitchen like present with all your senses.

Present meant when you smell, smell when you taste, taste and do taste and do look and do here. And I mean, that’s just such a different way of cooking, making you such a better cook. If you don’t just take the recipe. The recipes are the guidelines, but then in addition to the recipes being present and that presence starts at the market when you start shopping, that’s what my mom would say. When you go shopping, do not buy the fish unless you touched it. Do not buy anything unless you touched, looked at it or smelled it. And even if you could taste it, taste it. But that’s how you communicate with the ingredients and communication with the ingredients is possible. It’s like they actually talk to you. They talk to you by showing to you how it’s too firm, it’s too soft.

It smells. Is it bright as the eyes of the fish are bright and shiny or the gills are red, or even the smell and all the way to the heat. When you turn on your fire and you have the oil, is it sizzling? That sound has to give you some kind of way of telling you if it’s hot enough or not? Is it smoking? It’s too hot. Now, is it smelling burnt? Is it tasting like you need enough salt or not? Every single one of the recipes are an opportunity for the cook, the reader, to even communicate with my ancestors, my tradition. It’s like they continuing a conversation that started hundreds of years ago.

Amy S. Choi: There’s something so transcendent about how if you can actually be present in this act, then you can access a sixth sense of being in communication with your ancestors. That’s wild.

Pierre Thiam: It’s wild.

Amy S. Choi: It’s wild. And it’s also accessible and possible if we just let ourselves go there.

Pierre Thiam: That’s it. You have to be intentional. And it’s not that difficult. It’s not that virtual stretch. I mean, just know where those recipes are coming from and start being here. For me, it starts by just setting the tone and cleaning up the kitchen as I enter it, and just the ingredients, it just clear my mind and bring some joy to that. Don’t be stress, be joyful. Relax.

Amy S. Choi: Be joyful. We have a few questions to wrap up. How much food, this is an important question. This is something that Rebecca and I feel very strongly about.

Rebecca Lehrer: Very. This is an important way to wrap.

Amy S. Choi: Yes. Is how much food is enough food when you’re hosting people.

Rebecca Lehrer: I think it’s 50% more than you needed just in case.

Pierre Thiam: Yeah, definitely 50%. And there’s got to be leftovers. People have to have the opportunity of serving themselves a couple of times, and that’s so important. Abundance is part of the qualification of a good meal. People have to feel like they are being served generously and obviously do not waste food. So it’s had to be also in a way that is delicious, people enjoy it and it’s abundant. And I’m trying to think of a word in Wolof to translate. It is kind of difficult, but you have rest and rep. So you have digested it, and that may sound gross, cultural, you burped, right?

Rebecca Lehrer: Oh yeah. My kids say my compliments to the chef after they burp.

Pierre Thiam: Yeah, exactly. So it’s one way to do it to you want your guests to eat so that they burp and then they burp, that means they’re full of food. So it needs to be generous.

Amy S. Choi: I think that’s great. And then the last thing is any guidance, you are such a beautiful light for people who are creating these environments in which we can share, in which we can love each other better, in which we can welcome other people in and truly try and be in community, I think with food and with hospitality. So I don’t know that Americans are all very good at this. So any piece of advice? If you would have one piece of advice for somebody who’s like, I’ve never really hosted before, or I’ve never really cooked for other people before, but I want to, what would you say to somebody who’s starting out?

Pierre Thiam: Oh, I would absolutely encourage that person to overcome those fears because sometimes there’s this fear that stops you from even taking the steps of entertaining people, but there’s so much that you are giving and this is the best opportunity by sharing your food. There’s such an intimate way of sharing, of giving, of who you are, what you are, especially if that’s the food from your culture or from your memories of food that you just enjoy. That’s really what you usually give. You, give food that you enjoy cooking. I always try to let people know that cooking is, doesn’t have to be something so intimidating. Just do it. That’s what I would tell them. Just do it.

Amy S. Choi: I love that.

Rebecca Lehrer: Pierre, this is so meaningful, and especially in this time, it feels so grounding. So we’re just really grateful to you for being on parallel missions with us in the way that we’re telling stories. And the confidence I think we all have that. Our stories are good stories to tell and essential stories to tell, and I think it’s just really thrilling to be in this work and in this world with you. So thank you.

Amy S. Choi: Thank you, Pierre.

Pierre Thiam: You’re welcome.

Amy S. Choi: Thank you to Pierre. I am so full from this conversation.

Rebecca Lehrer: Hospitality may be the capstone of our lives, the lives we’re building, what we’re aspiring towards, what we hope to instill in others, welcoming others in just doing it con class.

Amy S. Choi: Con class is the most important, right? And we have been so beyond grateful for all of our guests this season as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Mash-Up Americans, Randall Park, Chani Nicholas, Lisa Ling, Rainn Wilson, Jonathan Menjivar. I’m going to keep going. Jonathan Menjivar, Pooja Lakshmin, Jeff Chang, Minjin Lee, Liza Treyger, and today, Pierre Thiam.

Rebecca Lehrer: What a season. We are going to continue soaking up all the wisdom from the past couple months and take a little breather for the holidays. But we’ll see you back in 2024 for more goodies.

Amy S. Choi: So in the meantime, go back and binge The Ultimate Guide to a Mash-Up Life. Find us on social @mashupamericans and go live your very best life. We love you. 


This podcast is a production of The Mash-Up Americans. It is executive produced by Amy S. Choi and Rebecca Lehrer. Senior editor and producer is Sara Pellegrini. Production manager is Shelby Sandlin. Thanks to DJ Rob Swift for our theme song, Salsa Scratch. Additional engineering support by Pedro Rafael Rosado. Please make sure to follow and share this show with your friends. Bye.

Posted by Team Mash-Up
Team Mash-Up is the brain trust of smart minds and savvy creators, that builds all the cool stuff you see here.

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