Tales from Turkey

Turkish chef Ozgun Turgut will share stories and traditional dishes from his homeland.
Turkish chef Ozgun Turgut will share stories and traditional dishes from his homeland.

Food and storytelling has always been a way for communities to come together and feel connected.

The Social Foundry in Kyneton is about to launch a Feast of Stories series to share stories of migrant communities living within our region.
The first of the feasts will kick off on March 29 and will feature home-style Turkish food and stories from Ozgun Turgut and Sarp Soysalm on the theme of ‘food’.

Before immigrating to Australia 10 years ago, Oz was happily working as head chef at a top hotel in Istanbul.
But his partner wanted to study at the University of Melbourne so Oz left everything behind and followed her here.
“When I came here I had no English, I couldn’t speak the language so I started from the beginning, I started washing dishes again,” he said.
“I thought I should get a job in a Turkish restaurant so everyone would be speaking Turkish but it wasn’t the case, the only Turkish I heard was swearing.
“I chose to move away from the Turkish community so I could learn the language and culture better and assimilate myself in a way that I could be part of the community rather than just being around only Turkish people.”

Oz, who originally hails from Izmir on Turkey’s Aegean coast close to Greece, now calls Woodend home.
For the feast he will be preparing typical shared dishes from his home region, including a turlu (casserole dish) with rice pilaf and garlic yoghurt.

Joining Oz will be Sarp Soysalm, owner of Groundwork Co on Piper Street, who has a similar story to Oz having come to Australia around the same time, but had a Kurdish upbringing in Istanbul.

The two will share dishes and stories from their early lives with guests at the dinner on Friday March 29 at 6pm at the Social Foundry, 86 Mollison Street, Kyneton.
The meal will feature a main course and a dessert for a $5 donation and children under 12 eat for free. RSVP to the Social Foundry or at www.facebook.com/socialfoundryaustralia