The publication "Best Chefs America" announced Sushi Chef Engin Onural as its newest best chef of America. At the young age of 31, he’s excelled in both the culinary arts and in business. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business, Engin Onural enrolled in the Sushi Chef Institute in Los Angeles to study under Andy Matsuda.
After two-month course, Onural began to work in restaurants and hotels in California. In 2011, he opened his own restaurant, The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge without any investors. The restaurant's been so prosperous that Onural says he's already paid off his debts.
Onural, who is Turkish, stretches boundaries by fusing his own Mediterranean culinary heritage with that of Japan's.
“My test kitchen runs 24 hours a day,” Onural says. “In my head, I’m constantly tasting things. I already know how familiar ingredients will taste together. Nine times out of 10, the dish comes out perfect. Even in horrible moments, something unexpected is discovered that leads to a dish that’s good.”
His sushi rice is also different. Rather than rely on the slightly sour tinge of rice vinegar dominant in most sushi rice, Onural’s coats the palate with flavor of umami. It’s served a little bit warm. Some people will come in and just order rice balls.
Customers also appreciate the off-menu creations he makes, so regulars can always try something new. Some people think his sushi is just as good as - if not better than - what’s being served at the highly publicized, high profile Japanese restaurants in larger cities.
“I’ve dined at arguably the best sushi restaurants: Nobu, Matsuhisa, Katsuya, and Masa to name a few,” says sushi afficianado Ken Schwartz. “The Venue is superior to all of them.”
The Venue has been named “Best Sushi” by Palm Springs Life Magazine in 2012, 2013, and 2015.