With a dish inspired by the Marlborough region in which he grew up, Wharekauhau Country Estate chef Marc Soper is the winner of the Best Ōra King Dish New Zealand 2016. The hotly contested global Ōra King Awards also saw last year’s Best Ōra King Dish International winner Elijah Holland emerge as the 2016 Best Ōra King Ambassador International.
Soper wowed the judges with his dish of Chilean guava berry and brown sugar spiced Ōra King salmon, with smoked belly and yoghurt mousse, grapefruit, rhubarb and fennel salad, tree fungi crisps, spiced grapefruit reduction, soy and caviar.
Judges Geoff Scott and Anna King Shahab were delighted with Soper’s culinary masterpiece commenting, “Marc had clearly put the ‘aroha’ into the dish, even before its creation. The dish composition encourages the diner to savour every flavour and texture, and delivers a delicacy and richness that echoes the salmon as the hero.”
The other winners revealed today at an awards ceremony and celebratory lunch at The Nelson Club are:
- Best Ōra King Ambassador New Zealand: Chetan Pangam, One80° Restaurant, Wellington
- Best Ōra King Dish Australia: Mark Bashinsky, ARIA, Brisbane
- Best Ōra King Dish USA: Nathan Gould, O Ya, Boston
A new Ambassador award introduced for the first time this year; Te Pūkenga Matua, was given to Matt Lambert. A three-time consecutive winner of the Best Ōra King Ambassador International award and founder of Michelin-starred New York restaurant The Musket Room, the award acknowledges Lambert’s outstanding contributions to Ōra King salmon since its 2011 launch.
Lambert is a fitting winner; ‘Pūkenga’ means a professional, a skilled expert in a particular field, a lecturer, a storehouse of knowledge, while a ‘Matua’ is the head of an organisation or family, the main or a senior person.
Chefs from the US, Australia and all over New Zealand attended the awards lunch, and were treated to a salmon extravaganza prepared by three of last years’ winners, Thomas Barta from Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill, Elijah Holland of Nature’s Pick and Nick Honeyman from Paris Butter.