Auckland, Wellington and Featherston chefs make the final

The creation of innovative dishes such as gin cured salmon belly, brown spiced sugar salmon, raw confit of salmon and tomato cured salmon signal the return of the highly coveted Ōra King Awards.

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish New Zealand award have been announced with chefs from Auckland, Wellington and Featherston making the final four. The annual Ōra King Awards, now in its fourth year, recognises outstanding contributions from chefs working with Ōra King salmon.

The finalists for Best Ōra King Dish NZ are:

Himanshu Shaun Tyagi – Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill, Auckland Salmon By Nature

Rogue Society Gin and spice cured Ōra King salmon belly with Granny Smith apple foam, tomato consommé jelly, crispy salmon skin, Lot eight oil and basil emulsion, dehydrated tomato skin, dehydrated chilli, Ōra King salmon roe, The Secret Garden herbs and home grown edible flowers

Marc Soper – Wharekauhau Country Estate, Featherston

Chilean guava berry and brown sugar spiced Ōra King salmon, with smoked belly and yoghurt mousse, grapefruit, rhubarb and fennel salad, tree fungi crisps, spiced grapefruit reduction, soy, caviar

Jinu Abraham – Hector’s Restaurant, Heritage Hotel, Auckland

Raw confit of Ōra King salmon, with yacon & apple slaw, caramelised cauliflower puree, avocado wasabi & coconut vanilla crumbs, pickled onions

Ryan Tattersall – Cobar Restaurant, Wellington Tomato cured Ōra King salmon, smoked celeriac aioli, tomato chutney, chargrilled celery, olive, sorrel, liquorice

The competition is not complete until each of the four finalists’ dishes are re-judged by industry experts Geoff Scott and Anna-King Shahab. They return to the top four restaurants to sample each dish and to select the supreme winner. The judges mark each dish on presentation, taste, texture, technique, balance and the all-important x-factor.

New Zealand King Salmon general manager marketing Jemma McCowan says the competition is stronger than ever having received twice as many entries than 2015, and the fourth year of the awards have delivered four diverse and creative entries from regions across New Zealand.

“Entries have been whittled down from 63 and the Ōra King judges have spent the past four weeks visiting 10 semi-finalist restaurants from around the country to get to our final four,” Ms McCowan says. “The judges certainly have a tough job on their hands and we are extremely satisfied with the final four, yet finding it tough to predict who will be the overall winner.”

The judges commented that Shaun’s technique of gin curing ‘amplified the natural creaminess of the salmon’ and that Jinu’s dish had a ‘beautiful umami and sweet flavour’.

Marc’s dish had the ‘x-factor in bucket loads’ and Ryan’s tomato-cured salmon ‘intrigued and wowed the judges’, Ms McCowan says.

The winners of all five Ōra King categories are announced at the annual awards ceremony and celebratory lunch at The Nelson Club in Nelson on 11 October.

The winner of the Best Ōra King Dish NZ award last year was Thomas Barta from Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill Auckland.

About the 2016 NZ FINALISTS

Himanshu Shaun Tyagi

Shaun came to New Zealand from India in 2011 to complete his chef training. Shaun has taken part in many cooking competitions throughout his career, and in 2015 was awarded the title of Chef of The Year by NZ Chefs Association at the National Salon. Coming from the East, Shaun enjoys the challenge to explore Western Cuisine and especially enjoys working with fresh local produce to create unique flavour combinations.

Marc Soper

Chef Marc Soper is Executive chef at Wharekauhau Country Estate located in Palliser Bay in Featherston, Wairarapa. He is currently Conseiller Culinaire for La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Previous local positions include Executive Chef at The Wellesley Boutique Hotel, Executive chef for Compass group.
Marc has won and held many competition titles for his culinary skills throughout NZ, including Wellington Chef of the Capital 2011, 2015, 2016
NZ Chef of the Nation winner 2005, 2016. As well as a current New Zealand Beef and Lamb ambassador 2015.
Jinu Abraham

Jinu Abraham is currently working with Heritage Hotel, Auckland as Executive Chef. The highlight of his career is being involved in opening of Radisson Blu resort In India prior to his move to Heritage Hotel. Jinu Abraham joined the Heritage Auckland in 2003 as demi chef de partie, and has been executive chef since 2008. Jinu’s career includes many New Zealand Culinary Fare successes: winner of the Unique New Zealand Dish category 2005, a silver medal in the Restaurant of the Year 2006, and silver in Chef of the Year 2009. He won the inaugural New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge 2012 and then again in 2014 in the luncheon dish category.

Ryan Tattersall

Ryan Tattersall and his wife Hannah have owned and operated the Cobar Restaurant since 2008. Transforming the restaurant from its previous incarnation Ryan and Hannah have built a loyal clientele that relish the Cobar’s waterfront location and the quality of the food, wine and service on offer. During his time at the Cobar Ryan has won numerous awards for his cuisine. Winning the New Zealand Beef & Lamb People’s Choice Award in 2012. The fine dining category of the New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Competition in 2014 and twice named as a New Zealand Beef and Lamb Ambassador in 2014 and 2015.

2016 Ōra King Awards

The fourth 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 the latter part of September.

The full list of awards is:

Best Ōra King Ambassador New Zealand
Best Ōra King Ambassador International
Best Ōra King Dish New Zealand
Best Ōra King Dish Australia
Best Ōra King Dish USA

About Ōra King

Ōra King salmon is a best-of-breed king salmon developed specifically for the food service industry. Ōra King is a 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.

About Anna King Shahab


Anna King Shahab writes recipes and other features for a variety of publications including The New Zealand Herald, Food, Cuisine and Metro, as well as working as a judge for several different culinary awards.

About Geoff Scott

Geoff Scott was the Chef-Patron of the much awarded Vinnies Restaurant in Auckland for over 11 years. His career highlights include working with some of the greatest Michelin starred chefs namely Albert Roux at Le Gavroche in London and Alain Ducasse at ‘Le Louis XV’ in Monaco.

Issued for Ōra King Salmon by Pead PR


Rachael Everitt, Pead PR, 022 658 3043,