Caribbean Night raises money for Immigrant Women Services Ottawa

Algonquin College's Restaurant International became a lively Caribbean escape for fundraiser
Photo: Korbin Amaya
John Wolfart playing blues music during the Caribbean Night event.

Algonquin College’s Restaurant International transformed into a vibrant Caribbean paradise on April 4, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Students and guests gathered for “Caribbean Night,” a fundraiser featuring tropical moods, mouthwatering cuisine, live music and charitable giving.

Organized by Gabe Brocardi and Kree Charles, alongside their dedicated team of fellow Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management (BHTM) students, this event was not only an in honour of Caribbean culture, but it was also a fundraiser in support of Immigrant Women Services Ottawa (IWSO).

It was lively as guests dressed to impress in their beachwear, sipped unique cocktails like the “paradise punch” and feasted on a three-course meal inspired by the Caribbean that Restaurant International’s culinary specialists expertly prepared. Sweet treats like lemon crème brûlée and strawberry mango coconut parfait were served after appetizing entrees including West Indies yam and pumpkin soup, Jamaican spiced roasted chicken, Bajan salmon fillet and Caribbean vegetable korma.

There was live music from an up-and-coming Ottawa band, which included Owen Bueckert on piano, Marko Cuf and Vaughn Hall on saxophone, John Wolfart on bass, and Konrad Zetzsche on drums. Throughout the evening, the band maintained a high level of energy by performing Caribbean shore blues and Miles Davis sax covers, effectively transporting visitors to the sandy beaches of the Caribbean.

Despite the festivities, the real purpose of the occasion was to help IWSO, a nonprofit organization that helps immigrant and racialized women in the Ottawa area. In the middle of the event, Rajneesh Sharma, an IWSO representative, gave a presentation, outlined the organization’s goals and the essential services it offers, such as support for employment, gender-based violence awareness and prevention initiatives, crisis intervention and counselling, interpretation and translation services, and assistance with settlement and integration.

Leading Coordinators of "Caribbean Night".JPG
Kree Cearles (left) and Gabe Brocardi (right) stand smiling as their lively event proceeds successfully. Photo credit: Korbin Amaya

In an interview, Brocardi discussed the meaning behind Caribbean Night and how it aligns with the program’s goals.

“Kree and I were drawn to the idea of celebrating Caribbean culture, given our personal connections to the region,” explained Brocardi. “We wanted to create an event that not only showcased the vibrant spirit of the Caribbean but also supported a cause close to our hearts.”

Brocardi also underlined the importance of collaborating with nearby companies and organizations.

“Without the support of our local community, this event wouldn’t have been possible,” he said. “From donations for the silent auction to sponsorship and venue support, the generosity of our partners played a crucial role in raising funds for IWSO.

Guests enjoyed entertaining activities all evening, such as Shantal Gonzalez’s Caribbean-themed trivia.

“It’s really exciting because these people have little clues to the trivia on their table, and they don’t even know it. I’m really excited to host it and put a little fun into their evening,” she said.

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