Ōra King has announced the six Australian semi-finalists proceeding to the next round of judging in the annual Ōra King Awards.

This year Ōra King received 63 entries from Australian chefs and 185 total entries worldwide.

This year’s semi-finalists are Arnaud Pellegrino (Barangaroo House, Sydney);  Christopher Bonello (MPD Steak Kitchen, Melbourne); Christopher Taylor (MPD Steak Kitchen, Melbourne); Jesse McTavish (North Bondi Fish, Sydney); Michael Cole (Georgie Bass, Flinders) and Michael Demagistris (Polperro Winery Restaurant, Red Hill).

Chefs were asked to take inspiration from a piece of artwork – across any medium – and channel their interpretation into a dish that showcased Ōra King salmon.

The six semi-finalist dishes will be judged on dish composition, taste, execution and technique, as well as “x-factor”.

The competition finalists will be announced on 17 September and will be invited to the Ōra King Awards event in Nelson, New Zealand on 16 October where the winners will be revealed.

Finalists from Australia, Japan and North America will tour Nelson and surrounds, and pay a visit to the hatchery, sea farm and processing facilities.

Jason Roberts (pictured), the current ambassador for Ōra King in Australia and part of the 2018 judging panel, says this year’s theme will provide a new challenge to chefs, celebrating the importance of first impressions.

“Plate presentation is an essential element to this year’s entries but along with that I’m going to be looking for a dish that delivers on technique, balance and flavour,” he says.

“The dish will need to tick all of those boxes and really celebrate the Ōra King product.”

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