FREDERICTON – Caribbean Flavas Restaurant & Catering, based in Fredericton, has won the Grand Prize in the “Doing Good” category as part of Canada Post’s Tales of Triumph competition.
The competition honoured small businesses that have displayed perseverance, grit, and determination through the Covid-19 pandemic. The “Doing Good” category recognizes businesses that pride themselves on strengthening the community and supporting others.
“Caribbean Flavas has been a true Fredericton success story since its inception and is an important part of the restaurant scene in the community,” said Krista Ross, CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce. “Their generosity, determination and entrepreneurial spirit is an inspiration to many, including other newcomers entrepreneurs that seek to learn from their recipe for success.”
Naz Ali, co-owner and head chef of Caribbean Flavas, said he was surprised to find out the news he won after competing against more than 800 other small businesses across Canada.
“Applying to grants and programs like this, you’re accustomed to hearing, ‘no,’” he said. “You hear ‘yes’ and the clouds disperse and the sun comes shining through.”
The grand prize is valued at $15,000 and includes coaching sessions with leaders from eBay Canada and Google Canada along with a national ad campaign.
“Just getting a nod of approval from companies like this is enough,” Ali said.
Ali went through three rounds of written interviews followed by two interviews in front of a judging panel of national business leaders including Rob Bigler, general manager of eBay Canada and Fab Dolan, director of marketing for Google Canada.
A large part of the reason Caribbean Flavas won the grand prize is its “Buy One, Give One” program which fed thousands of people over the course of the pandemic including the homeless and essential workers. They also teamed up with shelters, hospitals, local food banks, schools, and testing stations as part of the program.
“Naz and his family have not only created amazing dishes at the restaurant but also bring a genuine warmth and community spirit to everything they do,” said Ross. “It, therefore, was not a surprise to me that they were one of the first local businesses to start giving back to the community during the pandemic through their ‘Buy One, Give One’ program.”
Ali said the program was a no-brainer, as it gave him and his family the chance to give back to essential workers and people in need throughout the community.
“When you look at it, there are frontline superheroes like doctors and nurses,” Ali said. “It’s not a money thing. It’s a showing gratuity thing. We have that humility to say ‘you’re putting your lives at risk for us.’”
“It’s not about a ‘me,’ it’s about a ‘we’ because other people have way bigger fish to fry.”
Find Liam Floyd’s full story on Huddle HERE.