Dzhulay Eredzheb hopes to raise vital funds to aid relief in her home country, which is struggling in the aftermath of its recent earthquake. By Stacia Briggs



Norwich chef Dzhulay Eredzheb remembers the last deadly earthquake to devastate her home country of Turkey: she was there when the 1999 İzmit earthquake struck.

The catastrophic magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit the Kocaeli Province, causing mass devastation and the deaths of at least 18,000 people.

Living in Instanbul at the time, Dzhulay (whose name is pronounced ‘July’) recalls that she woke in the early hours of the morning of August 17, 1999: “I remember waking up suddenly and the whole house was shaking and I was very scared. 

“I went and woke up my parents who were still asleep and then we escaped in case our house collapsed. In the morning my father set up a tent for us as we were not allowed inside our house as it could have been dangerous.

“We lived in that tent for a month whilst the damage was assessed. Many of the buildings in our neighbourhood were damaged and had collapsed. I remember being frightened, not knowing what was happening. Even in the days after we were scared of further aftershocks.”

Now Dzhulay is hoping to raise vital funds to help rebuild her home country in the aftermath of another, even deadlier earthquake, by holding a special Turkish Supper Club at The Assembly House in Norwich, where she has worked since 2017.

After studying archaeology at university, she moved to the UK in 2015 and discovered a passion for food which has seen her work at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck restaurant, The School of Artisan Food and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

“Feeding people good food made from great ingredients and making them happy is something I really enjoy, and food always brings people together, especially at difficult times,” she said.

Eastern Daily Press:

“I hope to do this on the evening of Friday March 3, showcasing fresh authentic food from my home country. Feeding people good food made from great ingredients and making them happy is something I really enjoy, and food alwaus brings people together, especially at difficult times."

All proceeds from the event, at 7pm to 10pm at the Theatre Street venue will be donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which unites 15 member charities who are experts in humanitarian aid and specialists in different areas of disaster response.

Dzhulay had just returned from a trip to Istanbul when the earthquake struck, on February 6. 

She said: “My mother has taken in some people whose homes have been destroyed and is helping and doing what she can. 

“I have family relatives and friends who have been injured, who have lost loved ones and whose homes have been destroyed.

“Infrastructure has been affected which has slowed rescue efforts and aid reaching the people who need it. To make matters worse there are freezing temperatures to contend which dramatically worsen the survival rate of people who are still trapped in the rubble.”

Dzhulay’s Supper Club menu features dishes that originate from the regions affected by the earthquake, including meze dishes, breads, slow-cooked lamb, grills, baklava and Turkish delight.

Assembly House director Richard Hughes said: “Dzhulay is family to us and so it stands to reason that her family are our family and we want to help her to help them."

Tickets for the meal on March 3 cost £34 and are available by calling The Assembly House on 01603 626402 or can be bought at