Oona Tempest believes her work behind the sushi bar is as much a performing and visual art as it is a culinary craft. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts in NYC, where she focused on visual, critical, and multidisciplinary arts. Tempest fell into the world of sushi by chance when a friend, who happened to be working as a waitress at Tanoshi Sushi on the UES, asked Tempest to cover a shift.
After persistently asking the Master Chef Toshio Oguma to teach her technique, he agreed, and an intensive apprenticeship followed. Oguma was a rare and revolutionary sushi chef who didn't believe in race or gender stereotypes, giving Tempest a once in a lifetime opportunity. She recalls speaking with him earnestly about the history of sushi, learning about different fish and their flavors. This experience further cemented a newfound passion which eventually developed into the career she wanted to pursue.
Tempest was one of the only female sushi apprentices in New York, and as she grew into an accomplished sushi chef, remained a rarity behind the sushi counter. In 2016 at only 23 years of age Tempest was named one of Zagat’s top 30 chefs under 30. Tempest continues to reinforce a place for herself in the tradition-oriented sushi world, bringing her own unique omakase experience to New Yorkers now at Sushi by Bae.