Legends Café: thinking local

After only seven months in business, Legends Café is ready to take it to the next level. 

Soon customers will be able to enjoy the seaside dining experience in evenings too. 

Located on Taumeasina Drive near the soon-to-be-opened Taumeasina Island Resort, the café is adjacent to the Vanya Taulealo Gallery, and seating on the veranda area overlooks the sea. 

Owner of both the café and gallery, Dr. Vanya Taule’alo previously had her gallery situated in Si’usega.

However, after hearing that the proposed Taumeasina Island Resort should be opening in 2016, she decided to relocate and add a café to the gallery. 

Dr. Taule’alo recounted how she made the decision in 2014 and told her husband, Tuu’u Dr. Ieti.

“I said that we would bring the gallery down to the family land and I’m going to add a café. It was just like that, very spontaneous.”

It was in March 2015 that building began and on 15 June 2015, Legends Café was officially opened. 

The café’s culinary decisions were informed by Dr. Taule’alo’s environmental and health conscience. She explained that as well as past experience.

“My husband and I have been involved in the environment for a long time. A lot of my artwork is revolved around the protection of the environment and the special role that the environment plays in our lives and lives of all sorts of other creatures. 

“You could say that we were hippies so when we were in New Zealand, we had our own garden and produced our own food. I’ve always been interested in that sort of philosophy.”

This has led to the majority of the food being grown in Dr. Taule’alo’s garden in Siusega of the café gardens. Importing products is avoided at all costs.

“I have a big garden at the back of the café which unfortunately has been badly flooded. Up until we were flooded we supplied about seventy-five percent of our own vegetables,” said Dr. Taule’alo. 

“It has to be environmentally friendly, it has to have a low carbon footprint. I don’t see the point in bringing things from overseas at all. I mean there are basics, that of course, you have to like sugar, flour, butter. If my chefs can’t justify why they want something to me, then I say you’ve got to think of a local alternative.” 

Aside raising recognition of local produce, Dr. Taule’alo enjoys introducing customers to highly nutritious vegetables that they may not have previously encountered. These include the Drumstick Tamaligi tree, Kang Kong, creeping spinach and purslane. 

This is an excerpt of a longer article that was published in the Samoan Observer. Read the original article online