Success down to attitude, chef says

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It is a long way from a humble fish and chip shop in Timaru to the world’s largest cruise ships.
‘ I have been very lucky because I have been exposed to a
huge variety of cuisine and I have travelled all over the
world ‘
stride as senior travelling corporate chef for Royal Caribbean International. His responsibility is to look after the catering needs and requirements of 10 ships in the fleet.
Mr Reihana was in Timaru last week on a flying visit. He is at sea for up to four months at a time, carefully scrutinising the galleys and tables of restaurants.
His recent project was the launch of Harmony of the Seas, the largest passenger ship in the world, which set sail in May.
Mr Reihana got his start washing pots and pans in Timaru.
‘‘I did a home economics course at Mountainview High School and missed out on School Certificate.’’
He then got a job as a chip peeler, started cooking fish and chips and went on to wash dishes at The Hermitage Hotel in the Mount Cook Village.
‘‘I had to fight for an apprenticeship. There were chefs there from all over the world. They all had qualifications and I didn’t.’’
Mr Reihana said it was and still is his work ethic that helped him progress.
‘‘I worked harder than everyone else. I was always up for work on time.
‘‘It was tough for me. I did not know maths that well but I never stop believing in myself.’’
He went on to work in fivestar hotels around the world before he grabbed an opportunity to work aboard cruise liners.
‘‘I was lucky because I was given the biggest ships in the world. From there I worked my way through the ranks and now I am responsible for half of the fleet.
‘‘If they don’t make culinary ratings or budgets, I go in there and look at things. There are now 10 ships under my watch.’’
Mr Reihana said much of his work now involved reviews and audits.
‘‘If I’m on board for a week I can spend four to five hours in one outlet.
‘‘The service is just as important as the food. We are really guest-oriented and the most challenging aspect is the guest needs.
‘‘I have been very lucky because I have been exposed to a huge variety of cuisine and I have travelled all over the world.’’
Self-belief was the key factor in obtaining success, he said.
‘‘If you believe in yourself it’s amazing what you can do.
‘‘It comes down to attitude.’’