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It’s a tough job – but someone has to judge the country’s best Ōra King salmon dish.

For the next seven weeks food industry experts Lauraine Jacobs and Anna King Shahab are going to be dining out on New Zealand’s premium salmon – prepared by 14 of the country’s most noted chefs.

As expert judges, their task is to narrow down to four the 14 front-runners in the Best Dish NZ category of the 2015 Ōra King Awards.

Twelve front-runners have been announced today (4 August) for the category but the door remains open to two wildcard chefs who need to have their entries in by the end of August.

Of the dozen finalists announced so far, four are from the Wellington area and two from Auckland with chefs from Christchurch, Blenheim, Nelson, Waiheke Island, Wairarapa and Banks Peninsula completing the field.

The 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.

Nominations for the best dish awards are made by chefs throughout the country and the final judging is handed over to industry experts. The Ōra King ambassador awards for NZ and offshore chefs are decided solely by Ōra King’s global team.

Preliminary judging of the front runners gets underway this month and the four finalists are announced on Monday 21 September. The winners of all Ōra King categories are announced at the awards ceremony in Marlborough (20 October).

The 12 shortlisted chefs who have been selected so far for the judging phase of the 2015 Ōra King Best Dish NZ category are: