Some of our country's finest chefs and leading food personalities will travel to Japan this spring to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the annual Ōra King Awards.

The announcement was made yesterday at an exclusive industry event held at Cocoro restaurant in Auckland. The Japanese themed launch event was catered for by the young, talented chefs who took part in this year’s Ōra King Next Generation mentoring programme*.

One of the most prestigious culinary highlights on the professional chef’s calendar, the Ōra King Awards (The Ōra’s) recognises outstanding contributions from chefs working with Ōra King salmon, New Zealand King Salmon’s premium foodservice brand.

The four chefs from each country are yet to be decided as Ōra King will take the three Best Ōra King Dish finalists in addition to an Ōra King Ambassador from each country. Entries for the Best Ōra King Dish New Zealand award are now open.

Ōra King is encouraging chefs across the country to enter and New Zealand King Salmon GM Marketing Jemma McCowan hopes the trip will inspire local talent and shine a light on the rich affiliation between both countries.

“When it comes to cuisine, Japan’s ancient food traditions are an inspiration to our relatively new, but evolving culinary scene in New Zealand. Since our launch in 2011, we’ve seen strong growth of Ōra King salmon in Japan’s high end foodservice category and look forward to giving our best chefs a money can’t buy experience in one of the most fascinating and multifaceted food cultures in the world”.

Unesco recently added Japanese cuisine – known in Japan as washoku – to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list. This puts it equal to French cuisine, the only other national culinary tradition to be so honoured.