For the second year in a row, Marc Soper has won the Best Ōra King Dish New Zealand at the annual Ōra King Awards.

Announced at the Ōra King Awards ceremony held in Tokyo yesterday, Marc Soper’s creation “Japanese inspired Ōra King Salmon, served with bone broth” was named the 2017 New Zealand winner.

Leading food industry experts Lauraine Jacobs and Geoff Scott judged the New Zealand category and both attended the prestigious event.

“Marc must have spent hour upon hour thinking about and perfecting every part of his creation,” said Scott. “He showed us Ōra King salmon served to perfection, every ingredient there for a reason, the dish - delightful and clever, the taste - incredible!”

“Marc Soper’s Ōra King salmon was superb,” said Jacobs. “He is a chef in a class of his own, as not only has he demonstrated absolute precision in his cooking, but he has also shown his shining talent two years running, embracing the nose to tail philosophy and ensuring that every single element on the plate is utterly delicious.”

The hero of Marc’s dish is a baked Ōra King salmon loin wrapped in nori. The salmon is topped with a sesame kelp seasoning and accompanied by wasabi peas, pickled rice, Ōra King caviar, soy ginger and tofu sponge. A smoked Ōra King salmon bone broth is served tableside in front of the guest.

Marc was inspired by the simplicity and full flavour of Japanese food, coupled with his fascination with the nose to tail philosophy. His dish incorporates the various parts of the Ōra King salmon including the belly, tail, skin and bones.

Marc took out the award after competing against 86 New Zealand chefs including finalists, Mark McAllister from Welcome Eatery, Himanshu (Shaun) Tyagi from Harbourside Bar and Grill, and Makoto Tokuyama from Cocoro. Makoto was also named the Best Ōra King Ambassador for New Zealand.

General Manager Marketing at New Zealand King Salmon, Jemma McCowan says, “The competition is getting more intense each year. It is impressive to see a wide range of Ōra King chefs from across New Zealand apply their creativity and culinary expertise to showcase Ōra King, as well as incorporating the Japanese twist. Chef Marc’s dish was applauded for its technical brilliance and flair by both our external judges. The award is very well deserved and I extend my congratulations to him.”

The awards have grown every year and to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the awards, the Awards ceremony and activities were held outside New Zealand, with the finalists and ambassadors for New Zealand, Australia and North America flown to Japan to join the Japanese finalists.  This year, chefs from around the world were challenged to enter their Best Ōra King Dish with a Japanese twist.

The winners of the 2017 Ōra King Best Dish Awards are:

  • Best Ōra King Dish New Zealand, Marc Soper, Wharekauhau Country Estate, Featherston
  • Best Ōra King Dish Australia, Christopher Bonello, MPD Steak Kitchen, Melbourne
  • Best Ōra King Dish North America, Travis Swikard, Boulud Sud, New York City
  • Best Ōra King Dish Japan, Yosuke Kanai, Fleuve, Hotel Granvia Osaka