A Jamaican chef has promised to serve his customers with “the best Caribbean food” in Southampton.

Robert Green, known as Mike among his friends, had his first food trailer stolen in 2010 and set up a restaurant in 2019 which he was forced to shut down due to Coronavirus pandemic.

But the former electric appliances salesman is hoping it will be third time lucky with his latest food truck - a remodelled prisoner transport van - parked outside Freemantle United Reformed Church on Shirley Road.

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The 63-year-old said: “I want people to know this is the best place for people to eat Caribbean food.

"It is prepared freshly with passion and tastes amazing.

"Yeah man, come try it!"

Daily Echo: Robert Green, known as ‘Mike’ and his new food truckRobert Green, known as ‘Mike’ and his new food truck (Image: Newsquest)

Mike was born in Jamaica and moved to Gloucester with his mum Dorreth and step-dad when he was 29 and moved to Southampton in 1994.

He worked as a door-to-door salesman for 12 years, a job which he claimed was “hard work”.

The dad of 11 was employed as a chef and worked at various restaurants in the Southampton area during the winter seasons while continuing his sales job during the summer.

In 2010 he bought his first trailer selling Caribbean food, hot dogs and burgers - but unfortunately it was stolen with all its equipment in it.

He opened his first restaurant on St Mary Street in 2019 named 'Variety Caribbean Food' but within a year of opening, he had to close because of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

He said: "It was a very tough time because for most of that I didn't have any income.

"Fortunately, my partner was working as a nurse at the hospital which gave us some money."

On Christmas Eve in 2021, his mum died after a long illness and left him with some cash with which he bought the van and remodelled it into a food truck - which he named Nandella after his grandmother, Della.

He said: “It was a very hard Christmas but thanks to the money my mum left I was able to start again.

“I had it all turned into a restaurant and bought all the equipment so that I could have a kitchen to cook in again. It’s still not fully there but it is enough to start it”.

'I am determined'

The van has been parked outside the Shirley church for a few months but now he is ready to serve some hungry people.

He said: “It’s been very tough the last few weeks since I started but I am determined that after my last attempts at having businesses, I really hope that people will notice me and come try my food.

"I want people to know that this the best place to try Caribbean food in Southampton."