Dish Fest Q&A: AhDana Dejarnette of Tempura Takeover

Tiffany AcostaFebruary 23, 2022
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In the days leading up to Dish Fest, we’re presenting our readers with exclusive chef interviews so they can learn the stories behind the Best Dishes being served at the inaugural festival.

Tempura Takeover owner AhDana Dejarnette describes Tempura Takeover as a “pop-up street eatery,” where establishing genuine connections is just as important as the sustainable seafood she cooks. She’ll be bringing both to Dish Fest, during which she’ll be serving her signature dish – the Sloppy Lobsta Roll. We sat down with Dejarnette to discuss how she balances sweet, savory and earthy flavors in her cooking and what makes a dish go from good to great.

What is the origin story of your Best Dish?
The Sloppy Lobsta Roll is one of our best dishes and best sellers. I wanted to create a lobster roll that was different, something memorable. I was able to achieve this by adding elements of texture with our light and crispy tempura batter. I knew I needed a decent bread that would not overpower this delicate ingredient, so the King’s Hawaiian Roll was a no-brainer. My next experiment was our house-made lemon garlic sauce. It’s the perfect finish. Our Sloppy Lobsta Roll is all about the art of balancing sweet and savory with a touch of earthiness. Chef’s kiss!

What are the most important elements of a Best Dish?
The most important element of a best dish is taste. When the ingredients work together in harmony, it’s a joyful feeling. A tasty dish is one you never want to end.

What is your favorite food memory?
Watching my grandma cook, then eating.

Who is a fellow chef or restaurateur that you admire?
Joe Johnston. He’s just genuine and you can feel it. He’s a dreamer/doer. He is a risk-taker. Joe is excellent at bringing people together and making ideas come to life to build a stronger community.

What are you most looking forward to about Dish Fest?
The atmosphere and the food! We are excited to be a part of a community coming together for a great cause benefiting The Joy Bus.


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