Deconstructed sushi presented as a map of Japan and broth inspired by New Zealand’s lakes are among the selected dishes progressing to the second stage of this year’s prestigious Ōra King Awards.  

The annual Ōra King Awards competition recognises culinary excellence with dishes incorporating New Zealand’s best-of-breed Ōra King salmon.

In a new theme for 2017, chefs from around the world were challenged to create their best Ōra King dish with a Japanese twist for the chance to join Ōra King on an exclusive chef’s tour of Japan in October.

The semifinalists for the Best Ōra King Dish Awards are:

New Zealand

  • Adam Harrison, Amisfield, Queenstown: Salmon and the Lake
  • David Bowers, Flat White, Waihi Beach: Colours of Japan
  • Marc Soper, Wharekauhau Country Est, Featherston: Japanese inspired Ōra King Salmon
  • Mark McAllister, Welcome Eatery, Auckland: King of Diamonds
  • Shaun Tyagi, Harbourside, Auckland:  Shio Koji Zuke Ōra King Salmon
  • Makoto Tokuyama, Cocoro, Auckland: Deconstructed Ōra King Sushi
  • Stuart Rogan, White & Wong’s, Auckland: Teppan Ōra King salmon
  • Aurelien Agbadje, Boulcott St Bistro, Wellington: Stepping Stones


  • Keat Young Lee, EZARD, Melbourne:  Confit Ōra King Salmon
  • Leigh McDivitt, Banksia Bistro, Sydney:  18Y.O. Suntory Yamazaki and blood orange cured Ōra King Salmon
  • Benjamin Keal, The Reveley, Perth: Hakushu Whisky Cured Ōra King Salmon
  • Christopher Bonello, MPD Steak Kitchen, Melbourne: Ōra King salmon, Noodles & Rocks
  • Aram Yun, Nobu, Melbourne:  Duo of Ōra King Salmon
  • Joshua Askew, Swissotel, Sydney: The Hatchery
  • Shimon Hanakura, ARIA, Brisbane:  Ōra King salmon with umami nori vinaigrette
  • Sean Collett, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron:  Miso Caramel Ōra King Salmon

North America


  • Alison Trent, Ysabel, West Hollywood: Ōra King Salmon Koi Fish Pond
  • Eric Fralick, Noble Rice, Florida:  Ōra King Salmon in 5 elements
  • Jon Butler,  71 Above, LA: Kombu Cured Ōra King Salmon
  • Travis Swikard, Boulud Sud, NYC:  Japanese Whisper
  • Aaron Koseba, Single Thread Farm, Healdsburg: Ibushi-Gin Smoked Ōra King Salmon
  • Joe West, Stock Hill, Kansas City: Ōra King Salmon Grilled Over Hay
  • Roy Villacrusis, Gaijin Asiatic Cuisine, Las Vegas: Ōra King Salmon Temari
  • Jonathan Granada, Otium, LA: Nori dusted Ōra King Salmon Sashimi

Jemma McCowan, New Zealand King Salmon GM Marketing says this year has yet again drawn an exceptional standard of Ōra King dishes. “We hope the competitive spirit of the Ōra’s is contributing to raising the bar for the global cuisine scene. We’re aiming to encourage the highest standards of technique, creativity and presentation and our Ōra King chefs are truly delivering on this.”

“It was difficult, but we managed to narrow down almost 300 spectacular global entries to just 24 semifinalists who will go through to the next phase.”

The next phase sees independent judges throughout New Zealand, Australia and North America visit the chefs to taste their semifinalist dishes. Each dish will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Dish composition
  • Taste
  • Execution and technique
  • X Factor

New Zealand judge Geoff Scott comments: “Together with fellow NZ judge Lauraine, I am truly excited to meet the New Zealand chefs behind these meticulously designed semifinalist dishes. The real highlight of course will be to see these Japanese inspired creations and to taste the magic that has been crafted with Ōra King salmon.

The produce and inspiration behind the New Zealand semifinalist dishes this year is mouth watering – from historic 200 year old soup recipes to the blending of cultures and cuisines, and from wild plants foraged from the lakeside and coastal shorelines, to New Zealand grown and artisan made Japanese ingredients – including Yuzu, Saké, Katsuobushi and Shichimi. I am anticipating the dishes this year are going to be quite exceptional.”

The Ōra’s, as the awards are colloquially known, see chefs compete for one of four coveted Best Dish titles. They are:

  • Best Ōra King Dish New Zealand
  • Best Ōra King Dish Australia
  • Best Ōra King Dish North America
  • Best Ōra King Dish Japan

Individual Ambassador awards will also be presented to an Ōra King chef in three regions. The recipient of these Ambassador awards are decided solely by the Ōra King team, representing the loyalty and dedication the chef has shown to Ōra King over the past year. They are:

  • Best Ōra King Ambassador New Zealand
  • Best Ōra King Ambassador Australia
  • Best Ōra King Ambassador North America

The three Best Dish finalists and the Best Ambassador winner from each region will be announced on 18 September. These 12 chefs will be invited to join their international peers in Japan, with the Best Ōra King Dish Award winners revealed at the Ōra King Awards lunch, held in Tokyo on 17 October.

Terms and conditions relating to the Ōra King Awards competition can be viewed on the Ōra King website.

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2017 Ōra King Awards

The fifth annual Ōra King Awards (The Ōra’s) recognise outstanding contributions from chefs working with Ōra King – New Zealand King Salmon’s premium foodservice brand produced exclusively for fine dining restaurants in New Zealand and overseas. There are New Zealand and international citations for both Best Ōra King Ambassador and Best Ōra King Dish. The ambassador awards are decided solely by Ōra King’s global team. Nominations for the best dish awards are made by chefs throughout the country and the final judging is handed over to industry experts. The finalists will be announced in October in Japan.

About Ōra King

Ōra King is best-of-breed king salmon developed specifically for the food service industry. Ōra King is the result of a commitment to quality founded on a classic breeding programme born in the top of New Zealand’s South Island two decades ago. All of the company’s husbandry and breeding, everything which Ōra King represents, is dedicated to the professional chef. It is the best of the best. Ōra King is to salmon as Wagyu is to beef. 

For more details contact Ōra King Salmon: