Chefs head to Nelson, New Zealand for Ōra King Awards Celebrations

The finalists in the sixth annual Ōra King Awards are revealed this week, along with a new standard of creativity towards cuisine thanks to this year’s ‘Inspired by Art’ theme.

A group of acclaimed chefs from across New Zealand, Australia, Japan and North America are set to travel to the official awards ceremony in Nelson, New Zealand, where they’ll experience some of the country’s most scenic destinations.

The theme for this year’s competition, ‘Inspired by Art’, has challenged some of the world’s most brilliant chefs to take inspiration from a piece of artwork – across any medium – and craft an edible masterpiece worthy of the coveted food industry accolade ‘Best Ōra King Dish’.

The annual Ōra King Awards (The Ōra’s) recognises the outstanding creations of chefs around the world working with Ōra King salmon, New Zealand King Salmon’s premium foodservice brand.

New Zealand King Salmon marketing general manager Jemma McCowan says it has been an enjoyable experience watching the entries roll in and looks forward to welcoming chefs to the top of the South Island next month.

“This year’s entrants have embraced this year’s theme, with each dish telling a captivating story that is personally significant to its chef, while celebrating the quality of Ōra King.

“Year on year, we’re meeting new talent from across the world and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share our story with them and show them just where their favoured salmon comes from.”

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish New Zealand are:

  • Antony Page – 50 Bistro at The George, Christchurch: “4 Degrees of Separation” Inspired by Inspired by the Bill Hammond series “Fisher Finder”
  • Mark McAllister – Private Chef, Auckland: “Salmon Solstice” Inspired by Irish Megalithic art
  • Phil Clark – Phil’s Kitchen, Auckland: “Picasso” Inspired by Inspired by Picasso

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish Australia are:

  • Christopher Bonello – MPD Steak Kitchen, Melbourne: “Ōra King in 5D” – inspired by “Must Take Stock of Myself” by Tom Samek
  • Jesse Mctavish – North Bondi Fish, Sydney: “Hanging Fish” – inspired by “Mungil” by Veronica Lulu Fatima
  • Michael Demagistris – Polperro Winery Restaurant, Red Hill: Cannelloni of Ōra King salmon, bisque, burnt hay, red hill truffle, finger lime, smoked caviar – inspired by “Spiral Jetty” by Robert Smithson

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish North America are:

  • Jonathan Granada – Otium, Los Angeles: “Legacy” inspired by a photo collage in homage to Paul Bocuse and Anthony Bourdain
  • Mia Li – Lenoir, Austin: “Strips of Earth’s Skin” Inspired by “Strips of Earth’s Skin” by El Anatsui
  • Yael Peet – Karasu, New York: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” inspired by “Fantasia”

The finalists for Best Ōra King Dish Japan are:

  • Kazunari Domoto – Garden Restaurant Holt, Shiroyama Hotel, Kagoshima: “4 Different Ways of Marinated Ōra King” inspired by Japanese Calligrapher Souun Taekda’s work 愉 (happy, fun)
  • Genta Mizuno – Le Printemps, Nagoya: “Mother Earth of Life – Ōra King Carpaccio” inspired by Mother Earth of Life
  • Naoki Nagai – All Day Dining Remone, Rihga Royal Hotel, Osaka: “Déclinaison de Ōra King –  Anna Pavlova” inspired by Anna Pavlova’s “The Dying Swan”


The winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on 16 October at the Suter Art Gallery in Nelson.

Terms and conditions for entry to The Ōra’s are available on the Ōra King website –