Chef teams up with Muslim Youth to serve tornado victims

Published 8:31 am Thursday, March 12, 2020

MURFREESBORO (AP) — An award-winning Knoxville restaurateur teamed up with volunteers with Murfreesboro Muslim Youth and American Muslim Advisory Council to prepare 400 meals for families affected by Tuesday’s (March 3) deadly tornado in Nashville.

Yassin Terou, owner of Yassin’s Falafel House restaurants in Knoxville, is using his talents to make “really, good, fresh food” for those in need, Terou said.

“After hearing about the tornado in Nashville and what’s happened, we are here to help the community and show them we are part of this community and we are proud to be here with them,” Terou said.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In 2011, the Syrian native came to America as a refugee and said he knows the difficulty of starting over.

“I know the feeling of having to leave your house and leave everything behind without notice. I came here … and Knoxville adopted me. I am the son of the city,” said Terou, who opened Yassin’s Falafel house just three years after immigrating here.

Along with gaining a loyal following for his food, Terou became known for his generosity to those in need. In 2016, he loaded up a van and took food and supplies to victims of the Gatlinburg fire and regularly donates to local charities.

His giving spirit garnered the attention of Reader’s Digest, who gave Yassin’s Falafel House the 2018 “Nicest Places in America” award and he was featured on “Good Morning America.”

Terou wanted to donate his time and talents to victims of tornado in Nashville. But the meals he’s serving are much better than the “cheese and ham sandwich” route, he said.

Meals will include marinated chicken served with a freshly chopped salad.

The chef and a team of volunteers traveled to Nashville Tuesday to start cooking, but ran into issues having “functioning kitchens,” said Murfreesboro Muslim Youth director Abdou Kattih.

“So we decided to cook here in Murfreesboro,” said Kattih, who named the project “We Stand with Nashville.”

The meals made in Murfreesboro will be delivered by MMY to nonprofit Gideon’s Army in Nashville and distributed to those in need, Kattih explained.

“It’s our way to make a statement that we are here for our neighbors in Nashville and we are stronger together as a community,” Kattih said.