VCS alumna Oona Tempest was just featured in in last week’s issue of Crain’s New York Business. The interview covers Oona’s thoughts on training to become a sushi chef, being one of only a handful of female chefs in the industry, her current gig working with David Bouhadana at a sushi bar at the Jue Lan Club inside the former Limelight in Chelsea, and more. Here are a couple brief excerpts:
Oona Tempest didn’t set out to break gender barriers in the sushi world. When she started learning sushi techniques five years ago, she didn’t even know that female chefs were a rarity. “It never crossed my mind,” Tempest said.
She was working as a waitress at Tanoshi Sushi, on the Upper East Side, putting herself through art school. The restaurant had just been favorably reviewed in The New York Times and everyone was feeling the pressure of the spotlight. To learn more about sushi, Tempest would stay after closing time, asking head chef Toshio Oguma hundreds of questions while he and the other chefs practiced knife work.
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In 2016 she was included in the Zagat “30 Under 30 Rock Stars Redefining the Industry.” Last year she teamed up with controversial chef and restaurateur David Bouhadana, formerly of Sushi Dojo, to launch a pop-up eatery at Gansevoort Market.
Bouhadana had appeared on the same Zagat list in 2014, and neither he nor Tempest is of Japanese descent. “We’re both alternative faces trying to make it in the sushi world,” Tempest said.
You can read the piece at the link above, and learn a little more about Oona in this VCS blog post from last year.