The finalists in the sixth annual Ora King Awards are revealed, along with a new standard of creativity towards cuisine thanks to this year’s ‘Inspired by Art’ theme.

Phil Clark

Auckland’s Phil Clark and Mark McAllister will join fellow finalist Antony Page from Christchurch alongside 20 other international acclaimed chefs for the official awards ceremony in Nelson, October 16.

Mark McAllister

The theme for this year’s competition ‘Inspired by Art’ has 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 worthy of the coveted food industry accolade ‘Best Ora King Dish’.

Judge Lauraine Jacobs returns for her fifth year and has been extremely impressed by the artistic talent of the finalists who rose to the creative challenge.

“The entries to this year’s Ora King Awards have been incredible. 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,” she says.

Stories and interpretations of food survival, Pablo Picasso and an Irish megalithic monument dating back 5,000 years are the three concepts that made it through to this year’s finalist round.

New Zealand King Salmon marketing general manager Jemma McCowan says it has been an enjoyable experience watching chefs as they push the boundaries, challenging themselves to work with Ora 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. The entries have celebrated Ora 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 Ora King Dish NZ are:

  • Phil Clark – Phil’s Kitchen, Auckland: “Picasso” inspired by Picasso. Salmon Dish with juniper, hay smoked Ora 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 Ora 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 Ora King salmon, Hangi purple potato, mussels, eel, smoked kina, coastal greens and saffron mussel fumet.

The finalists for the Best Ora King Dish Australia, North America and Japan will be announced by Ora King today, and available across social media and online at

The competition finalists and Ora King ambassadors will attend the Ora King Awards ceremony in Nelson on 16 October 2018, where the award winners will be revealed.

The final stage of judging will see renowned chef Geoff Scott taste and assess the finalist dishes, with the winning dish to be announced next month.

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