Chef and Restaurant owner – Primrose Siri (left) and volunteer – Linda Norman


Local Chef Primrose Siri and owner of ‘Rose’s in Luganville’, has taken rural communities of Santo, through her local food recipes, by storm. Not only that but she calls on the public not to apologise for not serving rice but local food, to their families in their homes.

She has formed a powerful Women’s Group to promote her recipes in the rural communities to fight against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) while enjoying a healthy life style.

Their theme is ‘Yumi go lokol blong leftem gud helth blong yumi mo sapotem lokal ekonomi’ (‘We go local to promote good health and support the local economy’).

An experienced chef, Siri who is from the Banks, has worked her way up from zero, to gain valuable experiences in prominent hotels and restaurants in both Luganville as well as Port Vila, before opening her restaurant in Nemo Building the Northern Town two years ago.

“I must thank my husband who uses his vehicle to drive us out on our outreach programmes in the communities,” she said.

Now while running her restaurant called ‘Rose’s in Luganville’, she said her group’s main message to the people of Santo and the North is to focus on organic local dishes.

“I harvest from my home plot, but even that is not enough so I buy from local farmers to encourage them to plant more local greens and root crops and bananas on their farms,” she said.

“Don’t forget Shark Bay where I come from is popular as it has the Blue Hole swim spot where both locals as well as tourists go to swim.

“If we can succeed in changing the way we prepare our meals in the restaurant as well as in the home, it just might slow down the impact of NCDs.”

Her determination is to focus on serving local food in her restaurant, is that she has seen with her eyes the tragic result of NCD on victims in Luganville. “My group and I believe we are getting there, to encourage parents to serve local food on the table for their children,” she added.

Listening to Siri and her colleague Linda Norman answer the questions I asked, it was clear they had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve when the Pacific Community (SPC) invited them down to Port Vila to take part in a three-day workshop recently.

As the biggest island in the country, to travel to address the importance of eating local food and not imported rice and other products, Ni-Vanuatu businesses do need financial support.

The Management of the SPC Office in Port Vila is more than willing to help men and women to have access to funding from the Regional Organisation, to improve the health of their people.

The chef said, “Go back to local food to change our life style to stay healthy. I want to call on ‘man ples’ and ‘woman ples’ to stand up on their own feet to promote economic stability for Vanuatu today and tomorrow”.

Her colleague, Norman is from Nguna Island but lives in Luganville.

She explained, “Rosie’s’ is not just a restaurant serving strictly local food to the public. It is involved in a powerful outreach programme through its recipes to prepare meals from any back yard plots as well as from farms.

“You can buy fresh local produce from the market then twist it in an attractive way to catch the appetite of the customer, to make him or her want to buy a plate for lunch or supper.

“When mothers want to know how to cook using Rosie’s recipes, we go in to train the mothers in the communities. This is where I come in to help set up and facilitate such training opportunities”.

Both Siri and Norman are on the road towards achieving their dream with their local food recipes.

The feedback they get from mothers is that their children are beginning to appreciate local food that they serve on the table.

‘Rose’s in Luganville’ is also on Facebook for visitors as well as those who prefer to enjoy local food to escape NCDs.