The finalists in the sixth annual Ōra King Awards have been revealed, with Auckland’s Phil Clark and Mark McAllister joining fellow finalist Antony Page from Christchurch alongside 20 other international acclaimed chefs for the official awards ceremony in Nelson, October 16.

The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Inspired by Art’, and challenged some of the nation’s most brilliant chefs to take inspiration from a piece of artwork – across any medium – and craft an edible masterpiece.

Judge Lauraine Jacobs, returning to the awards for her fifth year, was impressed by the artistic talent of the finalists who rose to the creative challenge.

“The entries to this year’s Ōra King Awards have been incredible,” she said. “As a nation of talented chefs and producers, the New Zealand food scene is starting to make impact around the world, and the calibre of entries to this year’s awards just reinforces this. Hearing each chef’s artistic inspiration and journey from concept to creation has made this year’s judging process particularly compelling.”

New Zealand King Salmon marketing general manager Jemma McCowan said that the competition had been an enjoyable experience watching chefs as they push the boundaries, challenging themselves to work with Ōra King in new and innovative ways.

“This year’s entrants have embraced this year’s theme, with each dish telling a captivating story that is personally significant to its chef,” she said. “The entries have celebrated Ōra King but also highlighted some of New Zealand’s best homegrown produce too. Year on year we’re meeting new talent from across the country but this year’s theme has seen some inspired entries”.

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish NZ are:

  • Phil Clark – Phil’s Kitchen, Auckland: “Picasso” inspired by Picasso. Salmon Dish with juniper, hay smoked Ōra King salmon, slow roasted leek, ruby grapefruit marmalade, confit egg yolk and horseradish cream.
  • Mark McAllister – Private Chef, Auckland: “Salmon Solstice” inspired by Irish Megalithic Art. Salmon Rock Plate with Irish whiskey cured Ōra King salmon, “solar sauce” with roe, lemon pickled pumpkin, saffron creme fraiche, calendula, smoked potato “stones” and seaside salad.
  • Antony Page – 50 Bistro at The George, Christchurch: “4 Degrees of Separation” inspired by the Bill Hammond series “Fisher Finder”. Smoked Salmon Dish with Ōra King salmon, Hāngi purple potato, mussels, eel, smoked kina, coastal greens and saffron mussel fumet.

The finalists for the Best Ōra King Dish Australia, North America and Japan will be announced by Ōra King later today. The competition finalists and Ōra King ambassadors will attend the Ōra King Awards ceremony in Nelson on 16 October 2018, where the award winners will be revealed.