Ōra King Awards Australian semi-finalists announced

13 August, 2019 by
Hospitality Magazine

After a huge number of entries, six chefs from around Australia have been named Ōra King Awards semi-finalists for 2019. Drawing inspiration from this year’s theme of ‘sustain’, entrants were challenged to communicate their own sustainability story and creativity through an Ōra King dish.

The semi-finalists for the prestigious title of Best Ōra King Dish Australia are:

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Michael Demagistris – Polperro Winery, Victoria
Joachim Lim – MPD Steak Kitchen, Victoria
Nicholas Backhouse – The Stables at Stones of the Yarra Valley, Victoria
Ollie Hansford – Stokehouse Restaurants, Melbourne & Brisbane
Tara Mae Chua – Bea at Barangaroo House, Sydney
Michael Cole – Private Chef, Melbourne

New Zealand King Salmon’s marketing manager Foodservice, Anne-Marie Friis, says the calibre and high number of entries demonstrates how much chefs connected with this year’s theme.

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“Sustainability is crucial to everything we do at Ōra King and indeed is central to the whole food industry,” Friis says. “This year’s theme inspired chefs to showcase their personal experience with the topic and we saw a real range of dishes coming through.

“We had chefs using overlooked ingredients that often go to waste and there was a strong theme around collaborating with other local producers and the inclusion of native ingredients. We were delighted to see several entrants used Ōra King from nose to tail in their dishes and in very interesting and creative ways.

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“There were also entries that acknowledged the mental sustainability of restaurant teams, while other chefs referenced how childhood memories inspired them to look after the environment for future generations. There was such a variety, which made judging particularly challenging.”

This year’s Australian semi-finalists will now be judged by Jason Roberts, executive chef at The Bistro at Manly Pavilion, and Ian Curley, co-owner and chef at French Saloon and Kirk’s Wine Bar, Melbourne. The two chefs will visit each semi-finalist to taste their creations and hear the chef’s inspiration behind each dish.

“We are really excited by the calibre of entries that this year’s theme has inspired,” says Roberts. “As we travel around Australia to taste the semi-finalists’ dishes, we are eager to learn more about the ethos and philosophy behind their creation, and hear more about each chef’s personal connection with the topic of Sustain.”

After the judging sessions, three finalists will be announced on 16 September, after which they will be flown to the Nelson-Marlborough region for a four-day, all-expenses paid celebration, from 13 to 17 October. The Ōra King Awards ceremony will take place on 15 October.

In addition to the Australian competition, chefs from New Zealand, North America and Japan will compete for the Best Ōra King Dish in their respective countries. The best entries from throughout the competition will be featured in a book of sustainable food stories, published later this year

Image: Joachim Lim’s entry