Father’s Day Special: Food Entrepreneur Rachel Goenka & Media Magnate Viveck Goenka On Their Unique Bond
Viveck Goenka — Chairman & MD of The Indian Express, one of India’s most renowned newspapers — has been a celebrated name in the media business for over 2 decades, and if we had to list out his accomplishments, it would take more than one article to do it. His daughter, Rachel Goenka, has followed his footsteps to become a woman who inspires young people like you and me.
Viveck’s obsession is vintage cars and hers is everything related to food. Rachel even went to The Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland, where she trained under celebrity chef Rachel Allen, and then moved to Le Cordon Bleu in London to specialise in patisserie.
Hauterfly spoke to the father-daughter duo about their career decisions, their equation, and how their relationship has helped them achieve their individual and joint milestones. Read on for some mid-week inspiration, which may just push you to work with your dad too!
Tell us what each of you does.
Viveck: I help Rachel run The Chocolate Spoon Company. I also run a media group, a vintage and classic car restoration facility, and an investment company.
Rachel: I am the CEO of The Chocolate Spoon Company, which owns The Sassy Spoon, Sassy Teaspoon, and Baraza.
How was your relationship with your daughter/father as a child, and how has it evolved over time?
Viveck: Rachel and I do not have a conventional father-daughter relationship. We have always been friends and co-conspirators from the time Rachel was little, and this continues till today.
Rachel: As he said, we’ve never really shared a typical father-daughter equation. Growing up, my dad was always my best friend and confidant. That aspect has not changed over the years and we continue to enjoy a transparent relationship. He has been my sounding board as well as my mentor, and has taught me everything I know, from vintage cars to how to run an organisation.
What’s the one personal quality about each other you admire the most?
Viveck: Her generosity towards not just her family, but also her friends and colleagues.
Rachel: He’s an all-rounder with a very analytical mind. I admire his ability to tackle any problem and become an expert at any subject he sets his mind to.
And professional quality?
Viveck: An alert, innovative mind coupled with high energy, which she brings to bear on the business, and her passionate focus on good food.
Rachel: My father has the most amazing ability to get the best out of people. I am constantly learning the art of management from him.
What’s the one professional lesson you have learnt from each other?
Viveck: Don’t wait till tomorrow, and always be nimble and agile. She detests procrastination and is highly result-oriented.
Rachel: I can be very impulsive, and over the years, I have learnt not to react instantly and rather, take 2 steps back, reflect on a situation, and then respond.
What’s the one advantage and one disadvantage of working with each other? Would you recommend it?
Viveck: The natural trust and comfort we share can be both good and not so good. Why it is good is obvious, for we look out for each other’s interests. Why not so good, because you cannot be completely professional with your child!
Rachel: It depends on the relationship you share. The advantages are many, the most important being that you are working with someone who is always looking out for your best interests. I think the disadvantage would be that we tend to bring work home.
What’s the one unique aspect of a father-daughter relationship that no other relationship can emulate?
Viveck: A father-daughter relationship is highly eulogised, and this is very true of our relationship as well. On many occasions, it turns into a competition between us about who is more selfless!
Rachel: I think a father-daughter relationship is extremely special. He is your hero, protector, confidant, best friend, mentor, and advisor. I was always in awe of my father as a child, especially the way he commanded respect from people. He has taught me many values, the most important being honesty — towards people, work, and yourself.