Twelve prominent chefs will travel to Japan this October to participate in the grand finale of the 2017 Ōra King Awards. These leading culinary professionals from around the world will embark upon a unique gastronomic tour of the country.

New to 2017, the prize of a chef’s tour to Japan was introduced in order to mark the fifth year of the Ōra’s competition. Chefs from around the world were challenged to create their Best Ōra King Dish with a Japanese twist.

The stunning variety of finalist dishes demonstrates the inventiveness of their creators and wowed the senses of the judges, who assessed the Japanese-themed dishes on composition, taste, execution, technique and x-factor.

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish NZ are:
Marc Soper – Wharekauhau Country Estate, Featherston
Mark McAllister – Welcome Eatery, Auckland
Makoto Tokuyama – Cocoro, Auckland
Shaun (Himanshu) Tyagi – Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill, Auckland.

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish Australia are:
Christopher Bonello – MPD Steak Kitchen, Victoria
Joshua Askew – Swissotel Sydney
Sean Collett – Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish Japan are:
Ryusei Matsuda  – Nadaman Akasaka Zipangu, Tokyo
Shinichi Ikeda – Hotela Okura, Tokyo
Yosuke Kanai – Hotel Granvia, Osaka

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish North America are:
Eric Fralick – Noble Rice, Tampa
Jonathan Granada – Otium, Los Angeles
Travis Swikard – Boulud Sud, New York City

General Manager Marketing at New Zealand King Salmon, Jemma McCowan is impressed with the results so far.

“Here at Ōra King we always aim for ‘ichiban’ – the best we possibly can be. I can see a similar ambition from our entrants this year, and they have truly risen to the occasion in creating their Awards dish.

“Adding a Japanese theme to our Awards this year was a nod to this year’s destination, but also to acknowledge the deep respect chefs have for the culinary heritage of Japan. Over recent years, we’ve found Japanese cuisine to be a natural inspiration for food service professionals using Ōra King.”

“We knew the challenge would deliver some fantastic culinary moments, and each of our semifinalists have taken the Japanese theme and made it their own.”

The winning dishes will be announced this October in Japan.

The Best Ōra King Ambassador for New Zealand, Australia and North America have also been decided.

Makoto Tokuyama of Cocoro has also been appointed as Best Ōra King Ambassador New Zealand. Although no stranger to the Ōra King Awards competition, this is the first time Makoto has been awarded the Ambassador title. In 2013 Makoto won Best Ōra King Dish NZ, and was then shortlisted as a finalist for Best Ōra King Ambassador in both 2014 and 2015.

Sydney based chef Jason Roberts is appointed Best Ōra King Ambassador Australia. Jason has been using Ōra King for many years, he fulfilled the role of Ōra King mentor in the Australian mentoring programme this year and from North America to Australia, Jason takes Ōra King with him wherever he goes.

Mike Ellis of Charlie Palmer Steak, DC  is appointed Best Ōra King Ambassador North America. As part of the famed Charlie Palmer family of restaurants, Mike has the choice of the world’s best ingredients at his fingertips, Ōra King is honoured to be a consistent part of each menu Mike creates and the award acknowledges the ‘above and beyond’ attitude that Mike gives to all the Ōra King activities he has been involved with.

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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. Entries for the best dish awards are submitted by chefs throughout the country and the final judging is handed over to industry experts. The winners will be announced in October in Japan.

The Ōra’s, as the awards are colloquially known, see chefs from New Zealand and around the world competing 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

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