Winners united by “commitment to the brand”.   There’s a cosmopolitan menu of winners at the 2014 Ōra King Awards.   Chefs from a Michelin star establishment in New York, a Petone neighbourhood restaurant, a Las Vegas resort restaurant and a stunning Queenstown luxury hotel dining room have all triumphed in the annual awards.   The Ōra King Awards (The Ōra’s) were announced today (Oct. 21) at the stunning Woollaston at Mahana  in Upper Moutere, Nelson.   The awards 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.

New Zealand winners

New Zealand winners at the awards include chef Glen Taylor from Taylors on Jackson in Petone, Wellington who takes out the Best New Zealand Ōra King Ambassador while Ben Batterbury is awarded Best New Zealand Ōra King Dish. Batterbury is executive chef at the True South Dining Room at The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments in Queenstown. His dish is 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.

International winners

It was only two weeks ago his New York restaurant The Musket Room was re-awarded its Michelin Star. Today ex-pat Kiwi chef Matt Lambert picks up the Best International Ambassador Award for Ōra King salmon for the second year running.MEMORIES-H-WEB-7999 (2)In Las Vegas, Vincent Pouessel, who is executive chef at Aureole, is awarded the Best International Ōra King Dish with his seared Ōra King salmon, pea purée and morel mushrooms.

MEMORIES-H-WEB-7999 (2)MEMORIES-H-WEB-7999 (2)Total commitment

NZ King Salmon Marketing GM Jemma McCowan says the Best Ambassador awards reflect the winners’ total commitment to the Ōra King brand.   “Matt takes out the Best International Ambassador Award for the second year. We just couldn’t go past the fact that he himself has upped the ante on last year’s efforts. He has a real dedication and understanding about what we do as a brand. He has been a proponent of Ōra King at countless events throughout the year using our salmon as a show piece. He truly has an ability to identify opportunities.   “Not only does Matt have a huge creative talent for food but he also has the abilty to tap in to new trends and opportunites from a business perspective. We thoroughly enjoy the collaboration.”MEMORIES-H-WEB-7999 (2)Ms McCowan says it feels like Glen Taylor too is one of the Ōra King family. “He’s a humble achiever who just gets on with things with a quiet pride in doing the very best he can – and he constantly invokes this with Ōra King.”   Ms McCowan says it was very difficult to choose the two Best Dish winners from an impressive array of entries.   “Vincent’s dish is beautiful in its simplicity and respect for the ingredients. He is very active in championing Ōra King in a market that is highly competitive and the restaurant supports Ōra King very well – they entered more than one dish in the awards.”   Ms McCowan says Ben Batterbury’s award for Best NZ Dish was highly deserved.   “Ben’s a well-respected chef and his trans-seasonal dish heading into spring had the wow factor, displaying excellent technique and the use of tantalising flavour combinations that complemented the salmon perfectly. Queenstown is a competitive market for good cuisine and Ben and The Rees are obviously making a name for themselves.” Ms McCowan says.


Best NZ Ōra King Ambassador winner Glen Taylor grew up in Australia and knew at the age of five he wanted to be a chef. Love brought him to New Zealand and he worked at a number of restaurants in Auckland and Wellington including Zibibbo, Clooney and Shed Five before opening his neighbourhood restaurant Taylors on Jackson in Petone.   Ben Batterbury is originally from the UK and gained experience in top-tier restaurants throughout Europe. In New Zealand the Best NZ Ōra King Dish winner helped set up the True South Dining Room at The Rees and he has been at the stunning five star Queenstown hotel for more than five years.   Born and raised in Auckland, Best International Ōra King Ambassador Matt Lambert knew from a young age he wanted to be a chef. After graduating he met his future wife Barbara while working alongside chef Michael Meredith at The Grove. He relocated with Barbara to her home country the U.S. and opened The Musket Room in New York in May 2013.The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star just four months after opening.   Best International Ōra King Dish winner Vincent Pouessel was born in France and began his culinary career as a seasonal cook. He worked in both Bordeaux and Paris including a stint at a Michelin-starred restaurant inside the Eiffel Tower. In Las Vegas he began as sous chef de cuisine before joining Aureole in Mandalay Bay Resort, soon taking the reins as executive chef.

Best dish criteria

The criteria for the best dish awards includes 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. Each restaurant was visited by members from the industry including from the NZ Guild of Food Writers to review each nominated dish.   At today’s presentations, guests – including a host of New Zealand’s leading professional chefs – were treated to a lunch prepared at The House at Mahana 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 was on the menu.   To view the full album from the event click 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 by Pead PR

Contact: Jane Torrance, Pead PR, P: 09-918 5534, M: 021 393 157, E: