The finalists for the Ōra King Best Dish NZ and Best Ambassador NZ awards have been announced and two chefs have scored spots in both categories.
Bradley Hornby from Marlborough and Auckland’s Makoto Tokuyama are among six finalists up for two awards which recognise outstanding contributions from chefs working with premium Ōra King salmon.
Other finalists are MacLean Fraser from Wellington and Auckland’s Thomas Barta in the Ōra King Best Dish NZ award category and Nick Honeyman (Auckland) and Chetan Pangam (Wellington) in the Best Ōra King Ambassador NZ section.
The finalists for Ōra King Best Dish NZ are:
- Bradley Hornby – Arbour (formerly Gibbs on Godfrey), Marlborough – Ōra King, Parsnip Puree, Black Garlic, Hazelnut, Mandarin
- Maclean Fraser – Artisan Restaurant, Bolton Hotel, Wellington – Vodka Cured Ōra King
- Makoto Tokuyama – Cocoro, Auckland – Lightly torched ‘Sansho pepper-Miso’ cured Ōra King salmon confit
- Thomas Barta – Harbourside Ocean Bar & Grill, Auckland – Flavours of the Sea
The Ōra King Best Dish competition is not complete until each of the four finalists’ dishes are re-judged by industry expert judges Lauraine Jacobs and Anna-King Shahab. They will return to the top four restaurants to sample each dish and to select the supreme winner. The judges mark each dish on presentation, taste, creativity, technique, balance and the x-factor.
The finalists for Ōra King Best Ambassador NZ are.
- Bradley Hornby – Arbour, Marlborough
- Chetan Pangam – 1800Restaurant, Millennium Hotel, Wellington
- Makoto Tokuyama – Cocoro, Auckland
- Nick Honeyman
The Ōra King ambassador awards for NZ and offshore chefs are decided solely by Ōra King’s global team. Ōra King is New Zealand King Salmon’s premium foodservice brand produced exclusively for fine dining restaurants in New Zealand and overseas.
New Zealand King Salmon marketing general manager Jemma McCowan says the third year of the awards have delivered four distinctively different submissions from the NZ Best Dish Award finalists.
“The Ōra King team found it tough to predict a winner from such a diverse range of top quality entries, and it seems the judges have found it equally challenging.
“Leading into the final round of judging, we’ve already heard that Bradley’s dish stands out as ‘beautifully styled’ whilst MacLean’s entry is the ‘epitome of clever simplicity’. Thomas’ dish ‘showcases NZ seafood’ with Ōra King as the hero, whilst Makoto brings a ‘Japanese interpretation of seasonality’ to the competition,” Ms McCowan says.
“Our finalists for Best Ambassador NZ this year have all gone above and beyond to partner with Ōra King in their own individual way.
“Nick has consistently managed a nod to Ōra King across a year of exciting change including a culinary stint in France. Back in Wellington, Chetan has built on his reputation as heading up one of NZ’s leading hotel restaurants and has factored Ōra King into many events.
“Bradley has raised the bar in our home region of Marlborough through fabulous cuisine and customer engagement with Ōra King amongst his regional heroes. Makoto continues to align Ōra King with Japanese excellence through his expressive cuisine,” she says.
The winners of all Ōra King categories are announced at an awards ceremony at Raetihi Lodge in Marlborough on 20 October.
The New Zealand winners last year were Glen Taylor from Taylors on Jackson in Petone who took out Best NZ Ōra King Ambassador while Ben Batterbury from The Rees in Queenstown was awarded Best NZ Ōra King Dish.
2015 NZ FINALISTS
Born and trained in the South Island, Bradley Hornby is head chef and owner of Arbour restaurant (formerly Gibb’s on Godfrey) in Blenheim. He spent much of his career in Australia in luxury accommodation and restaurants and moved to Gibbs on Godfrey as executive chef in 2014 purchasing it with his partner in 2015 and renaming it Arbour.
Executive chef and F&B Manager at 1800Restaurant, Copthorne Hotel, Wellington, Chetan started his chef career in New Delhi and moved to New Zealand in 2002. With a cooking style described as ‘modern New Zealand with Indian French influences’, Chetan has worked in several chef roles in Auckland, Hamilton & Palmerston North and has been in his current role in Wellington since 2011. He was a finalist in the Ōra King Award for Best Dish NZ in 2014.
The executive chef at Artisan Restaurant in Wellington’s Bolton Hotel, MacLean spent much of his youth outdoors creating a direct connection with wild food. He has always enjoyed experiencing new food and cultures spending time in Rarotonga, Kuala Lumpur and the Maldives between stints in New Zealand.
Makoto Tokuyama is owner and chef of Cocoro in Ponsonby, Auckland. In 2000 he arrived in Auckland from Japan on a working visa returning permanently in 2003 to spend eight years as executive chef of Soto Restaurant in Ponsonby. He opened Cocoro, in 2010. Makoto was awarded the Ōra King Award for Best Dish NZ in 2013 and was a finalist in the Best Ambassador NZ category in 2014.
South African-born Nick Honeyman is well known in the cosmopolitan Auckland dining scene and has recently finished a stint working and managing his restaurant Le Petit Leon in France. He has also worked in Australia and Japan. Nick joined The French Café in Auckland in 2009 before moving on to several head chef roles in the city including The Commons and Sofitel. He was a finalist in the Ōra King Award for Best Ambassador NZ in 2014.
Originally from Hungary, Thomas Barta is head chef at Harbourside Ocean Bar & Grill, Auckland. He has worked in Italy and the UK and with his wife arrived in New Zealand in 2011. He has worked at the Roxy and Soul Bar, moving to Harbourside Ocean Bar & Grill in 2013.
2015 Ōra King Awards
The third annual Ōra King Awards (The Ōra’s) recognise outstanding contributions from chefs working with Ōra King – New Zealand King Salmon’s premium foodservice brand produced exclusively for fine dining restaurants in New Zealand and overseas. There are New Zealand and international citations for both Best Ōra King Ambassador and Best Ōra King Dish. The ambassador awards are decided solely by Ōra King’s global team. Nominations for the best dish awards are made by chefs throughout the country and the final judging is handed over to industry experts.
About Ōra King
Ōra King salmon is a best-of-breed king salmon developed specifically for the food service industry. Ōra King is a result of a commitment to quality founded on a classic breeding programme born in the top of New Zealand’s South Island two decades ago. All of the company’s husbandry and breeding, everything which Ōra King represents, is dedicated to the professional chef. It is the best of the best. Ōra King is to salmon as Wagyu is to beef.
About Lauraine Jacobs
Lauraine Jacobs writes the weekly food column for the NZ Listener and is one of the country’s most experienced restaurant critics and culinary judges.
About Anna King Shahab
Anna King Shahab writes recipes and other features for a variety of publications including The New Zealand Herald, Food and Metro, as well as working as a judge on Metro’s annual Best Restaurants and Cafes issues.
Issued for Ōra King Salmon by Pead PR
Jane Torrance, Pead PR, P: 09-918 5534, M: 021 393 157, E: firstname.lastname@example.org