Labour of Love

Henry Longstaff has been in love with cooking since his first job washing dishes in a Peruvian restaurant as a wee lad of 14. During quiet spells, the owner would allow him to help with food prep and cooking, which sparked up his passion for food and Henry has worked in kitchens ever since.

It often takes just that one person in our lives to ignite a desire that lurks within us all. During the last 9 years, Henry has been a chef in the NZ Navy, and has cooked in some often dangerous, and always challenging conditions. “The kitchen is moving all the time, and there is very limited storage space which is difficult when you are at sea for prolonged periods which can be up to 36 days at one time” Depending on the posting, he has to be prepared to cook for anything from 20 to 1000 people at a time, which puts stressing over a dinner party for 6 into perspective!

When not deployed at sea, Henry loves to cook a leisurely meal at home, with a cold beer to hand. If fresh fish is available, then ceviche is his favourite dish to prepare in a peaceful kitchen where the only things that move are the hands on the kitchen clock.

Naturally he always gets roped into taking over the barbeque wherever he goes – it’s a trust thing, you just know its in safe hands.

”Even if I’m not asked, I’ll find myself gravitating towards the grill….”


At weekends, Henry and his mates take their 4x4 trucks to deserted spots around New Zealand. Camping and cooking big marinated Tomahawk steaks at night under the stars is his most happy place. 

You can follow Henry and his cooking adventures on Instagram
@henri­_longshanks_ffh