Fuad Nakhleh Bahou

May 14, 1935April 23, 2020

Fuad Nakhleh Bahou passed away April 23, 2020 at his home in Knoxville, TN. Born May 14, 1935 to Nakhleh and Mary Bahu (formerly Nassan) in Al Bireh, Palestine, he attended a Quaker school in Ramallah. He was the first of his family to come to the United States after receiving a scholarship to a college in California. He spent most of his student years in Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA and worked at the flagship restaurant of the Carnation Company. After graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in painting and art history, he joined the faculty of Knoxville College in 1968, establishing and heading the art department until 1975. In later years, he served as an instructor in the University of Tennessee and Georgia State University art departments.

When invited to the homes of friends, he often prepared the meal. His cooking skills were so appreciated that his friends encouraged him to open a restaurant. His first restaurant, the Bahou Restaurant in Fort Sanders, was begun with his brother Shawqi, as business partner. It was the first of several restaurants in Knoxville and Atlanta, which introduced locals to Middle Eastern and world cuisine, uniquely infused with art, passion, creativity, and hospitality.

In 1983 Fuad moved to California, opening restaurants in Carmel with the assistance of his business partner and wife, Debby Corlew. For a time, he hosted a radio program broadcast on the Monterey Peninsula. He continued to paint in his studio/gallery, managed by his daughter Melodie. His life was filled with Art: painting, writing, cooking and feeding, arguing, conversing, observing nature.

Fuad and Debby returned to Knoxville in 2001, where Fuad retired from the restaurant business. He continued to paint and sculpt, later focusing on writing, giving vent to an endless flow of poetry. He spent many hours in local libraries and bookstores, always learning and widening his scope of understanding of the world. He traveled widely during his lifetime to Calcutta, China, Morocco, Europe and Scandinavia. Wherever he went he exhibited a lifelong curiosity and respect for people and other cultures.

Fuad was preceded in death by his sisters Amal and Jamilah and brothers Costa and Albert. He is survived by his wife, Debby Corlew, of Knoxville, his daughter, Melodie Marie Bahou & grandson Octavian Kaindl-Bahou, of Monterey, California, and his brother Shawqi Bahu of Los Angeles, California.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Bahou family.


Fuad Nakhleh Bahou

have a memory or condolence to add?

Vojo Narancic

July 12, 2021

I am very sad to hear that Fuad Bahou is no longer among us. Our friendship dates back to times when we were both teaching at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. There was an immediate connection that in part came from our mutual love for art, music and perhaps the fact that we both came to US from other cultures.

His curious and wondering mind would often find canvas as a medium for expression and love for people would come alive when sharing his cocking mastery with others. He was a friend that could spark an inspiration in one sentence or in an extended evening that would not want to end.

One of his big paintings of a round grey face with suspended but not defined expression hangs by my desk, keeping the memory alive. He will be missed but will not be forgotten.

Clark and Judy Stewart

April 24, 2021

We very fondly remember Fuad for his prodigious energy and creativity. Visiting their house was such a treat. We looked forward to discovering his new artworks, and of course the wonderful meals he prepared. The shear volume of his creative output alway amazed and impressed us. We think of him often and enjoy 2 of his works in our home, one of which is fittingly in the kitchen! We miss him.

Susan Caolo

May 16, 2020

My deepest condolences to Fuad's family. I met Fuad during my student years at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville when I worked at the Bahou Container and assisted with the opening of the Bahou in Atlanta Georgia. His warm laughter and creative passion for food and life made a lasting impression on me. He and his brother Shawqi were so ahead of their times with how they prepared and shared food as a celebration of life. It has been many many years since I last saw Fuad, but what I learned about viewing food as an expression of art to share with friends has stayed with me all my life. I am saddened to about his passing.

Morna Livingston

May 14, 2020

I remember Fuad so happily and send love to his family. We were friends for a long time in Knoxville, and ate many dinners together. My husband Philip and I helped design his restaurants, including the porcelain columns fabricated at Cherokee Porcelain so close to The Bahou in what had once been a paint store off Kingston Pike. I loved the cooking he and Shawqi did, and possibly Fuad’s cauliflower in tahini is still my favorite recipe after fifty years. What a fine man, and interested in everything.

Guy Livingston

May 12, 2020

To Fuad's family,
Please accept my condolences. I have wonderful memories of Fuad from when I was a kid growing up in Knoxville. I loved the restaurants, and the delicious dried fruits, which he kept in big glass jars. He was funny and affectionate with us kids. I especially remember the restaurant by the train tracks. The food was great, and we could watch the freight trains through the window. It was magical!
warm regards,
The Hague, Netherlands

Philip Livingston

May 11, 2020

Fuad and Shawqi were part of our family for many delicious and eventful years. So thankful for that gift.
Rest now, restless good friend.

Philip, Morna, Guy and Hugh Livingston

Hikmat Alazawi

May 9, 2020

Fuad and I became friends in the 60's here in Knoxville and lost touch when we moved to different parts of the world. Once we moved back to Knoxville we started having lunch each week. This was the highlight of my week. Fuad was a true gentleman and friend. He was loyal and trustworthy. If he said something you could count on it. I relied on him to help me with my Arabic cooking. Goodbye Amigo. I'll missyou.

Diane Jones Rawls

May 6, 2020

So very sad to hear of this awesome man's passing. I was priveleged to work with Fuad and Shawqi at the original Bahou restaurant and the Bahou container. I learned so much there. Very special time in my life. Blessings to his family.

Marcia/David Doyle

May 6, 2020

Upon reading the great tribute to Fuad, our first thought was, well done for a life well lived.
May we all strive to contribute to humanity as well as Fuad.
While searching for a steak arabesque recipe, a never forgotten 50 year old culinary memory from Fuad’s first restaurant, we found not the recipe but Fuad and Debby. Since the recipe was created by Fuad he could only, after so many years, offer his best guess at the ingredients. No meal has ever rivaled since the one created for us by Fuad at the First Bahou Restaurant on Forest Ave.. Our lives have been enriched by knowing them these past few years and by sharing lively conversations during meals out together.
Fuad will be greatly missed! Marcia and David Doyle

Jennifer Newland Moorefield

May 5, 2020

I remember Fuad when I was a small girl in Knoxville, Tenn. I would visit his restaurant in Fort Sanders and he’d always greet me with a warm smile. Often, he’d ask if he could make something special for me. I loved seeing him. Knoxville was blessed to have his food, energy, art, and spirit. Much love and peace to his family and friends.
Jennifer Newland Moorefield