Kiwi David Reihana has carved out a career as a top chef with a major cruise line, writes Winston Aldworth.
From a kitchen in the foothills of Mt Cook to running grand galleys on the high seas, David Reihana's career has been one of constant motion. And he's still moving.
Today, the Kiwi is executive chef of new builds for Royal Caribbean, one of the world's biggest cruise line companies.
Aboard the recently launched Quantum of the Seas, he has responsibility for 800 staff across 18 restaurants. He's feeding up to 4180 guests and 1500 staff.
It's a big responsibility. But Reihana can handle the heat; he's happy in the kitchen.
"I worked all over the world before cruise ships. I did my apprenticeship at the Hermitage, in Mt Cook. Started when I was 16."
He worked in five-star hotels around the world before joining the cruise industry, where he's become used to the itinerant life..
"I work four months on and I have two months off. I always fly back to New Zealand, so when you break it down I have four months off a year. I'm not married, I don't have kids, so I don't have all these responsibilities. It works well."
When he's home, Reihana goes back to Christchurch ("I just happened to be home when the big earthquake came"). "And I go down to see my family in Timaru." He rides a Harley.
Best of all for Reihana, he loves what he's doing when he's at work.
"The transition from a kitchen to a big galley is really not that difficult. It's just on a bigger scale. Here, I'm responsible for 60,000-70,000 plated meals per day, throughout the whole ship.
"The great thing about working on a cruise ship is that all the equipment is top range. On land, even in the very best restaurants, you're having to make do with equipment that's not ideal. This ship alone [the Quantum of the Seas] has $40 million of equipment."
He's proudest of Wonderland, one of the ship's new restaurants, featuring a playful menu and decor.
"It's completely 'food upside down' and delivered in a special way. You'll never see anything like that anywhere, even on land."