Bull kelp grows all over New Zealand’s rocky shoreline; harvesting the kelp is easily done at low tide in calm seas, or after a big storm it will wash up on our beaches. For this dish we use the base of the kelp, near where it attaches to the rocks, where the kelp is around 1cm thick and 20cm wide. The top or thinner parts of the kelp go towards enriching my compost which will, in time, be used to enhance the family vegetable garden.
This dish is inspired by the ‘en papillote’ method of cooking, learned during my time in French kitchens, and by the use of bull kelp by ancient Māori to create bags to preserve food like tītī (muttonbird) for many months. It also makes me think of my times as a kid when we baked potatoes in the fire on the beach. This technique gives a special smoky and umami flavour to vegetables and is also a great way to cook fish.


1.Use the first metre or so of the bull kelp where it is the thickest; cut this into 35cm lengths, then using a long knife cut into the honeycomb of the kelp to create a large pocket.
2.Stuff in any small vegetables, along with herbs and seasonings – I use baby beetroots, small potatoes, leeks, turnips – whatever is available.
3.If the vegetables are larger, cut them into wedges so they will cook in roughly 1 hour, buried in the hot ashes of a fire.
4.Serve with the cooking juices, blended to make a sauce.

Recipes & food styling Ben Bayly / Photography Sam Stewart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.