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Judda’s Chilli proving to be the hot item in Karratha


Middle aged Aboriginal woman in an industrial kitchen, making chilli with the help of kitchen appliances.
Valerie Holborow is having trouble keeping up with demand for her chilli.
12 Jul 2017

For years Valerie Holborow made chilli sauce using her grandmother’s recipe, never thinking that it would make her a successful entrepreneur with sports stars singing its praise. 

Valerie, a Yaburura/Mudhudthunia woman from the Pilbara in northwestern Western Australia, was raised on Karratha Station where her parents worked, before moving in with her grandmother in Roebourne so she could attend school.

“My nana used to grow chilli and tomatoes and make great chilli,” Valerie said.

“I’ve been making chilli to my nana’s recipe all my life and giving it to friends and family.”

Besides its great taste, the chilli is renowned for its ability to keep users from getting a cold, and so when her daughter opened the Bushlolly Café in Karratha, she asked Valerie to increase production so she could use the chilli in dishes and bottle it to sell to customers.

Valerie named the chilli “Judda”, which means “old woman” in the Yindibarnji language, and it quickly gained a following around town.

Used in some of Bushlolly’s most popular dishes, like fish and rice with chilli, word of mouth has led to the Bushlolly Café becoming a ‘must visit’ for anyone visiting Karratha.  

“It keeps selling out and I can’t keep up with demand,” Valerie said.

“Locals love the chilli and we also get a lot of tourists buying it. Recently some West Coast Eagles footballers visited Karratha, bought the chilli and have been raving about it to people in Perth ever since.”

Bushlolly Café is planning on opening other cafés in nearby towns and taking Judda’s Chilli with them, meaning that Valerie’s workload won’t be slowing down any time soon. Not that Valerie is concerned though.

“I love the fact that I’m making my nan’s chilli and so many people are enjoying it.”

Find out more

The Government is currently exploring ways it can better support Indigenous entrepreneurs through a 10 year Indigenous Business Sector Strategy.

You can provide your feedback on the draft strategy at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website

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