Executive Chef/Owner, The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge and Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey
Engin Onural was only 10 years old when he decided he wanted to become a chef — a departure from his parents, who are both engineers. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in business information management from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, before moving to Los Angeles, where he completed his culinary training at the Sushi Chef Institute and became a certified sake sommelier.
Onural opened The Venue Sushi Bar & Sake Lounge in Palm Desert in January 2011. Since then, he and the restaurant have received many accolades, including the distinction of Best Sushi in the Coachella Valley as determined by Palm Springs Life magazine. In 2013, Onural was selected to be included on Palm Springs Life‘s “40 Under Forty” list of young entrepreneurs and trailblazers in the Coachella Valley published every two years. Following this, he was featured in the celebrity chef demonstrations at the Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, and plans to participate again in the 2018 festival.
Earning a place in the Best Chefs America Index, Onural is among the few chefs who hold the sushi proficiency certificate awarded by the Japanese government. He ranks among the top 30 sushi chefs in the world outside Japan and is one of a select number of worldwide sushi advisers. It’s safe to say that for someone with such drive and talent, this is only the beginning.