WORCESTER – Venice Fouchar of Worcester, owner of Ma Maebelle’s One Love Café at Worcester Public Market, emigrated to the country in 1975 from Jamaica when she was 14. She arrived in the country with the help of her mother, who arrived here in the early 1960s to prepare for American life before welcoming her daughter here.
Fouchar was originally from New York where she attended school, started a fashion design business and later got married and gave birth to her daughter.
In 2001, when Fouchar moved to Worcester to visit one of her sisters who lived in the city, she said she immediately fell in love with the peace and quiet of the city after living for years in New York and began to think about moving to Worcester.
But she said that when she was walking around Worcester, there was no “culture clique” for her. In New York City, even in the ’80s or’ 90s, Fouchar said she could always pop into one of her favorite Jamaican shops to grab a cup of casket and start the day with her morning routine. she.
Also, Fouchar has always called herself an artist, but said there were no cultural centers in which to work artistically. As a designer, she wanted to find an artistic connection and create something. Then she came up with the idea of bringing something Jamaican to town.
Fashion first of all, then cooking
Fouchar attended a fashion high school in New York and later attended the Fashion Institute of Technology.
She gave birth to her daughter in her senior year of college. After graduation, she started her own fashion design business in 1989 called Venice Fouchard Couturiere, making couture, dresses and cocktail dresses sold in specialty stores and personalized personal requests.
When he finished his tennis match and was on his way home to Worcester, he always passed 800 Main St. It was empty and said he would always peek through the window and think about opening his own business there.
Fouchar opened his first Jamaican restaurant, One Love Café, there and ran it until 2015 before opening as a food vendor at Worcester Public Market. It was a café, where Fouchar also instilled his love of fashion design by displaying artwork on the walls.
For her, the kitchen can also be considered design, she said. Fouchar said she loves the creative part of the kitchen in preparing different Jamaican dishes.
“I remember when my mom asked me as a teenager what I wanted to be. I think at the time something appeared on TV (like) how designers travel, and in my whole mind it was being able to travel anywhere, anytime I want, and I said, ‘Oh, I’ll be a designer.’ “said Fouchar, recalling the moment when her dream of being a stylist jumped into her mind.
Better education, better opportunities
Although Fouchar immigrated to the United States after her mother obtained a work visa sponsored by the owners of the business where she worked, she was thrilled to be in America and embraced the challenges of moving here.
“I was excited about the change. I was excited to be in America,” he said. “For me, all the change was positive. The change was exciting. It had great possibilities and I was excited.”
Fouchar’s mother was already working in the United States when Fouchar was 9 years old. Her father practically took care of her during those days in Jamaica, but he realized her mother was trying to make her a better life, he said.
She was forced to work hard for better education here in the United States because she said she didn’t have similar educational opportunities in Jamaica.
Fouchar has five sisters and three brothers. In her mother’s mind, daughters have always played more important roles in the family, she said.
“To really (provide) better care for our family, my mom decided to immigrate here and work hard and put all her girls here so we can have better education and better opportunities,” she said. “I think she did it all because all six of us were into things that (are) professional, that we love and appreciate (our work).”
In Jamaica, she said there was no earning potential relative to the United States and the opportunity for her to pursue the American Dream didn’t come until she arrived in America.
“There was a better opportunity here to get a chance to see him and go to college, which I’m sure if I were in Jamaica, that (I) probably wouldn’t have gone to college,” she said. “Now that I’m here, I could be whatever I wanted to be, thanks to the education that surrounded me at the time and I probably took advantage of it.”
Open a Jamaican food vendor at the public market
Her new business at Worcester Public Market is Ma Maebelle’s One Love Café, named after her grandmother, who was a great source of inspiration for her. Fouchar fulfilled her grandmother’s dream when she came to the United States, she said.
Between 2015 and 2020, Fouchar was doing more catering and events.
When she opened her café at Worcester Public Market in 2020, she said it was what she hoped to do when she first arrived in Worcester: work in a diverse market that welcomes everyone.
“This is such an exciting time in 2020 when we open here in the Worcester Public Market and the whole atmosphere that makes (all) Worcester come to life, and I love it,” he said.