Back for its sixth year, the Ōra King Awards recognise the outstanding contributions from chefs working with Ōra King – New Zealand King Salmon’s premium foodservice brand. The theme of this year’s awards, Inspired by Art, provided plenty of scope for creativity. The finalists will be announced on Monday.
Cod & Lobster Brasserie, Nelson
Dish: “Lunch atop a Southern Island”
Inspired by “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” by Charles Clyde Ebbets
Helen Murphy of the Cod & Lobster Brasserie in Nelson chose one of the most iconic photographs in history upon which to base her Ōra King Award entry.
“My inspiration for this dish is the black and white photograph, Lunch atop a Skyscraper, by Charles Clyde Ebbets,” Murphy explained. “I have always admired black and white photography and chose this piece for its history. It was part of a media campaign to showcase New York City in 1932. I see similarities with this and what I feel the Ōra King Awards do the Marlborough Sounds, and the top of the South Island.”
Murphy evoked the image in several ways – firstly, by using local produce to create the black and white contrast, also allowing the salmon to stand out. She plated the dish on a plank over a bowl to give the diner the same line of sight as the photographer, and added elements like crispy skin and ‘wire’ and seaweed ‘legs’.
Murphy described Ōra King salmon as “a chef’s delight.”
“It is delicious to eat, has a firm rich texture and is high in natural Omega 3 which has great health benefits. The rich oil content of the fish makes it very versatile for different cooking techniques – raw, cured, baking, grilling and smoking.”
Murphy has been at Cod & Lobster for three years, having joined the team shortly after the restaurant opened. From an early age she had a love for cooking, great food and the joy it can bring. She did her City & Guilds qualifications at Weltec before working various jobs around Wellington, gaining a range of experience in cafés and restaurants, but it was her time at Logan Brown that I found my passion for elegant refined dining.
In 2006, Murphy left New Zealand to travel through India and Ireland, and upon her return worked at Fords Restaurant in.
“Working at Cod & Lobster has allowed me to use my passion and experiences to lead a team that creates beautiful dishes, using the best produce the region has to offer.”