- Title: In the kitchen, "we're all human"; Refugee cooks up taste of Syria in Athens
- Date: 20th June 2017
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (JUNE 19, 2017) (REUTERS) REFUGEE CHEF, BARSHANK HAJ YOUNES (R) AND SEYCHELLES RESTAURANT OWNER AND HEAD CHEF, FOTIS FOTINOGLOU (C) PREPARING MEAL IN KITCHEN/ KITCHEN ASSISTANT CHOPPING VEGETABLES FOTINOGLOU LIFTING POT FROM FIRE VARIOUS OF FOTINOGLOU HANDING YOUNES TWO PACKS OF BULGUR WHEAT FOTINOGLOU ASKING YOUNES WHAT ELSE HE NEEDS POTS BUBBLING ON STOVE/ YOUNES PLACING PACKS OF BULGUR NEXT TO HIM VARIOUS OF YOUNES STIRRING NOODLES IN POT PEOPLE SITTING AT TABLES OUTSIDE SEYCHELLES RESTAURANT WAITER BRINGING DISHES AND SERVING COUPLE AT TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) REFUGEE CHEF, BARSHANK HAJ YOUNES, FROM SYRIA, AGED 25, SAYING: "[I want to] remind them that there are refugees here, there are still Syrians here. The Syrian and eastern food is famous... and I want them to remember that there are Syrians everywhere who are in need." YOUNES STIRRING POT IN KITCHEN/ FOTINOGLOU STIRRING FREEKEH, A TRADITIONAL SYRIAN DISH FREEKEH BEING STIRRED YOUNES COMMUNICATING WITH FOTINOLGOU/ THE TWO LAUGHING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) REFUGEE CHEF, BARSHANK HAJ YOUNES, FROM SYRIA, AGED 25, SAYING: "In the kitchen? I know some English, and I am trying to learn Greek, so we understand each other." RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE STIRRING POT IN MAIN KITCHEN/ FOTINOGLOU AND YOUNES SPEAKING VARIOUS OF FOTINOGLOU AND YOUNES IN MAIN KITCHEN (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) SEYCHELLES RESTAURANT OWNER AND HEAD CHEF, FOTIS FOTINOGLOU, SAYING: "The circumstances which forced them to leave behind their homeland, their home, their families, their birthplace -- it could happen to any one of us. All it takes is one decision, and suddenly it happens. We're here today, at this (refugee) food festival to say that cooking, in the kitchen, is something that unites, there are no differences. We're all the same, we're all human." VARIOUS OF RESTAURANT CUSTOMERS, INCLUDING, MAARTEN DE VRIES, SERVING THEMSELVES SYRIAN CHICKEN DISH WITH BULGUR WHEAT VARIOUS OF DE VRIES AND FRIEND EATING WOMAN SCOOPING UP HUMMUS WITH BREAD (SOUNDBITE) (English) RESTAURANT CUSTOMER, MAARTEN DE VRIES, SAYING: "The food is really, really great, I think, it's delicious and really reminds me of the Middle East, and I think it's a great initiative, because, yeah, cooks from Syria or other countries that can just show actually their skills and how nice food they can make so it's great to enjoy." PEOPLE EATING IN RESTAURANT/ OPEN KITCHEN IN BACKGROUND PEOPLE SITTING AROUND TABLE FILLED WITH PLATES OF FOOD SYRIAN LEG OF LAMB DISH YOUNES COMING TO TABLE TO TALK WITH CUSTOMERS VARIOUS OF YOUNES SPEAKING WITH CUSTOMERS SOUNDBITE) (English) RESTAURANT CUSTOMER, PANAYIOTA KANELLOPOULOU, SAYING: "This might change people's perspective regarding the refugees, and it will help them realize that they are people with unique skills they will bring something new to our culture to our society, and it's a lovely way to integrate someone to the community." CUSTOMERS SITTING AT TABLE OUTSIDE CUSTOMERS/BANNER OUTSIDE READING: (English) "REFUGEE FOOD FESTIVAL"
- Embargoed: 4th July 2017 13:20
- Keywords: Europe migrants refugees Greece chef Syria
- Location: ATHENS, GREECE
- City: ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016M3164N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:At the hip Seychelles restaurant in Athens the food tasted a little different on Monday (June 19) as refugee Barshank Haj Younes cooked up a feast.
The young Syrian Kurd, who arrived in Greece last year on a boat full of illegal migrants from Turkey, showcased his cooking talent alongside Seychelles' Greek chef to mark World Refugee Day on June 20.
Younes and chef and restaurant owner Fotis Fotinoglou prepared a menu of 14 Greek and Syrian dishes in the kitchen, communicating with elaborate hand gestures and a handful of words in English.
"I know some English, and I am trying to learn Greek, so we understand each other," Younes said, laughing.
Having initially studied computer engineering, he began experimenting in the kitchen five years ago, when, during Syria's civil war, he fled the town of Amuda for Iraq, where he worked as a hotel cook hoping to make enough money to pay for his journey to Europe.
He said he has been turned down for the EU relocation program, cutting short his plans to travel to Switzerland or the Netherlands. He lives in refugee housing provided by a non-governmental organization, since first arriving from Chios island where he landed, and then spending months in a makeshift tent camp near the Greek border.
"[I want to] remind them that there are refugees here, there are still Syrians here... I want them to remember that there are Syrians everywhere who are in need," said Younes.
Fotinoglou hopes it will help to encourage the integration of the refugees into society.
"We're all the same, we're all human," he said.
The menu featured traditional Syrian foods such as hummus and moutabal - a smoky eggplant salad - and slow-cooked lamb shank and bulgur with marinated ices, and cumin.
Customers said they liked the Middle Eastern twist, and agreed it would help to view refugees with a different light.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None