Piko piko, edible sand, wasabi and seafood foam, lime and fennel custard and roast maple seed quinoa are just some of the more unusual ingredients in the 2014 Ōra King Awards finalist dishes.


The finalists for the awards have been announced with the participation of regional restaurants a key feature in the second year of the Ōra’s. Finalists in the Best NZ Ōra King Dish category include two from the Bay of Plenty, one from the Coromandel and one from Queenstown, while Nelson is represented in the finalists for the Best Ambassador.


The 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*1 citations for both Best Ōra King Ambassador and Best Ōra King Dish.


The five finalists for Best Ōra King Dish in New Zealand are (see glossary *2):


• Ben Batterbury: True South Dining Room, The Rees Hotel – Queenstown for sous vide Ōra King salmon, swede and kumara pickled ginger purée, roast maple seed quinoa, apple lime fluid gel, pickled radish, smoked fishcake, enoki mushrooms.
• Chetan Pangam: One80 – Copthorne Hotel – Wellington for Ōra King salmon gravalax, blow torched miso belly, compressed cucumber, edible sand, beetroot fluid gel, dill mustard crème fraiche and crispy salmon skin.
• Simon Green: Halo restaurant at Trinity Wharf – Tauranga for Cured Ōra King salmon with white bean purée, pistachio and almond granola and wasabi and seafood foam.
• Stephen Barry: Mount Bistro – Mount Maunganui for steamed cutlet of Ōra King salmon encased in smoked salmon mousse with honey, balsamic and blackcurrant jus, radical kumara, baby fennel, lime and fennel custard and potato crisp.
• Samuel Goslin: The Lost Springs – Whitianga for “Kaimoana Ōra Kaimoana Aroha” – (Live seafood, Love seafood) comprising horopito, seasoned seared Ōra King salmon served with crunchy piko piko, kina velouté and watakirihi pesto.

There were 70 entries in the Best New Zealand Ōra King Dish category.


The criteria for the best dish awards include appealing and polished presentation, thoughtful flavour combinations, well executed technique and the entrant’s participation in the social media campaign. This year diner reviews of stand out dishes were also incorporated in the awards.


The four finalists for Best Ōra King Ambassador in New Zealand are:


• Glen Taylor, Taylors on Jackson (Wellington).
• Nick Honeyman, Lava at the Sofitel, (Auckland).
• Kevin Hopgood / Aaron Ballantyne, Hopgoods (Nelson).
• Makoto Tokuyama, Cocoro (Auckland).


NZ King Salmon Marketing GM Jemma McCowan says regional participation in the awards has stood out this year.


“We allowed restaurants and diners to put their own nominations forward and this approach provided an opportunity for the regions to shine – often the centres with larger populations attract the most attention – it’s great to see that high quality dining is flourishing around the country.”


Ms McCowan says the high calibre of the Ōra King Awards finalists makes for a thrilling event on announcement day.


“This year the standard of entries has been outstanding and the competition for the awards has been intense. We know there is huge interest in the outcomes amongst professional chefs.


“Public involvement in the nominations also certainly adds some extra interest and helps consumers share information on where the best dishes can be enjoyed,” Ms McCowan says.


The awards are being announced at the stunning Woollaston Estates in Upper Moutere, Nelson on Tuesday 21 October.


Guests – including a host of New Zealand’s leading professional chefs – are being treated to a lunch prepared by an impressive line-up of Ōra King chefs.


They include Ray England from Los Angeles restaurant Craft, Kiwi Matt Lambert from Michelin-starred The Musket Room in New York, Auckland-based chefs Makoto Tokuyama from Cocoro and The Food Store’s Mark Southon, and, as sous chef – Ōra King Chef’s Bursary winner Carlita Campbell, from Cobar Restaurant in Wellington.


Naturally Ōra King is on the menu.


At the inaugural Ōra King Awards in 2013 Lambert took out Best Ambassador International while Southon won the equivalent Best Ambassador award in New Zealand.


Tokuyama took out the award for Best NZ Ōra King Dish whilst Marco Akuzun from Top Air Restaurant in Stuttgart, Germany received the equivalent international award.


*1The International finalists are:


Best Ōra King Ambassador – International:


• John Lawson, No. 8 by John Lawson (Melbourne).
• Daniel Wilson, Huxtable, (Melbourne), NZ-born.
• Jason Alford, Roka Akor, (Chicago).
• Matt Lambert, The Musket Room (New York), NZ-born.
• Dieter Koschina, Vila Joya (Portugal).


Best Ōra King Dish – International:


• Michael Jenkins: Outrigger Resort, Noosa Heads for Ōra King salmon tartare, citrus chilli mayonnaise, pickled cucumber, wakame, sesame, watermelon radish.
• Rod Shokuhi: Beasley’s Tea House, Melbourne for EVOO poached Ōra King, candied olive crust, chlorophyll gel, duck fat potato purée, kombu foam, young leaves.
• Daniel Schimkovich: Restaurant Freundstuck, Germany for flamed Ōra King with miso, black garlic and rice vinaigrette.
• Vincent Pouessel: Aureole in Las Vegas for Seared Ōra King salmon, pea purée, morel mushrooms.
• Ray England: Craft Restaurant in Los Angeles for Ōra King salmon with coal-charred kiwi fruit and green strawberries.

*2Glossary of Māori food terms:


• Horopito: a native New Zealand shrub, also called a pepper tree because its leaves have a hot taste (dried Horopito is also known as Māori pepper).
• Kina: a sea urchin endemic to New Zealand.
• Kumara: (sweet potato) a root vegetable most commonly grown in the northern part of the North Island of New Zealand.
• Kumara (radical): an intense purple coloured sweet potato.
• Piko piko: a Māori word for the young curled shoots of ferns.
• Watakirihi (watercress): a Eurasian cress which grows in running water and whose pungent leaves are used in salad.


For images of the ‘Best Dish’ New Zealand and International Finalists visit our Facebook page here.


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.


Issued for Ōra King Salmon by Pead PR


Jane Torrance, Pead PR, P: 09-918 5534, M: 021 393 157, E: jane@peadpr.co.nz