Fathers talk parenting, pairing and prospects at private Johnnie Walker tasting
For the fathers who came out to the Johnnie Walker pre-Father’s Day private tasting event last Saturday at the AC Kingston Hotel, it was quite the event fit for a classic man. Led by whiskey connoisseur and the brand’s global ambassador, Arturo Savage, guests were taken through an engrossing journey highlighting the history of Johnnie Walker. Not only did the event see the pairing of the award-winning whiskey with delectable fare, but it also provided the perfect opportunity to talk about family, business, and fatherhood with nine fathers.
Councillor and chief executive officer, Xaymaca International
What is the greatest lesson your father taught you, and how do you apply it to how you raise your children?
There is no one lesson. It’s about how he chose to live his life, which is a living example of what I aspire to become. The sacrifices I would see him make for the family countless times, including work promotion that would have been profitable, but would have taken him out of the country and away from the family for extended periods; so he turned them down. I can also say the respect that he showed to my mother and the discipline he instilled in me by making me do chores when I didn’t have to. He would make me wake up and clean the yard to teach me to appreciate the value of hard work. He also taught me to keep one’s promises and the importance of follow-through. So he created a blueprint. Both my father and my grandfather are similar in how they lived their lives. But I guess the biggest life lesson is family first.
What soca song is at the top of your playlist?
Mash Up by Blacks. He recently passed away and was a man that I knew personally, so the lyrics of the song speak to me now more than ever.
Menswear fashion designer
Tell us about what you are wearing.
I’m always in a Carlton Brown suit. I’m wearing a baby-blue plaid suit with burnt-orange polo shirt and Kenneth Cole wine-red shoes.
Finish this statement, a man is never fully dressed without a _______________
First, if you don’t have money in your pocket, you’re not dressed. Actually, a man is never fully dressed without a decent pair of drawers. It’s as plain as that. There’s no need to go any further.
Many dads get caught up in a routine of work and parenting; this often results in their style taking a hit. What tip would you give to fathers to jazz up their wardrobes?
Always keep a white and black shirt on hand, plus grey and navy blue suits, and add pairs of black and brown shoes and matching belts.
Many fathers hope their sons will follow in their footsteps. What future do you imagine for Luke? Do you hope he’ll take a professional interest in food?
In my ideal world, Luke will become one of, if not the top chef in the world. You see, I have been training his palate for a good while now. For example, tomorrow he will be getting sirloin strip steak. From he had his first two teeth he has been eating what we eat.
You endear users on social media with your meal prep, recipes and cooking demos; what next? Are any new products or ventures in the works?
I just want to continue to grow in my career. The idea is just to put out more content and earn from it. I have a new product ‘9 and fried’. It’s a two-part seasoning jacket with seasoned flour, which simplifies the process of creating fried chicken. It has been on the market for the past year in Jamaica and the United States, and the idea now is to expand and make it more widely available.
Packaging manager, Red Stripe
You’re a problem-solver by nature and profession; what are some of the challenges fathers face, and how can they overcome them?
In the past, we weren’t grown to display love, so many lack that emotional connection with their children. We now, as fathers, have to show that in the new millennium we can openly love on our children. We also have to find that family time to foster those small, special moments. Sometimes we are so busy working that we lose out on the important little things. I have a 12-year-old daughter who is a natural athlete and she loves my cooking, so I cook every day for her, and this is one of the ways I show and express my love and also find the time to spend with her.
How will you be spending Father’s Day?
Actually, I need to go see my own dad on Father’s Day, so I will be journeying with my siblings, daughter and wife to spend the day with him in the country. Maybe I will walk with a bottle of Johnnie Walker so we can celebrate, as he has been a great father to his children.
Journalist, broadcaster and actor
What values would you like to pass on to your children?
I have four kids, two each [two boys and two girls], and I try to pass on to them core values such as integrity, determination and hard work.
You work in several fields. Have your children shown any interest in following your footsteps down any of those paths?
Yes, I think so. My first son, Ramon, dabbles in media as well, and I get the feeling that my writing skills have been passed on to my daughters Theresa and Kacey, while my eye for details [was] inherited by my son Alex.
Founder and chief executive officer, Esther Group
How can fathers be more intentional as parents?
You have to recognise how tremendous your role is in their lives. You personify what maleness is to your child, so you always have to be cognisant of that. I like the saying ‘Don’t tell me how to be a good person, show me.’ That is the first rule of intentionality. It is really the example that you set that they live by.
What can readers take away from your book ‘From the Margins: A Caribbean Man’s Ode to Small Business and Life’?
I wrote this book as it is the book I wanted to read at 18, when I wanted to start my business. The first rule is, don’t set limitations on yourself if you want to grow. You have to think big and not be scared to take chances. There are so many examples of this on the Junior Stock Exchange. So my book shows you [that what you] want you can achieve, if your dreams are limitless.
Co-founder and chief executive officer, EduFocal
You are a new dad to son Alexander. W hat is he calling you these days?
He calls me ‘Daddy Gordon’.
What is the one lesson you want to pass on to him?
Don’t think that the way you parent is the only way, or the perfect way. Just don’t get stuck in only one way of doing things.
You recently listed EduFocal and acquired the Clever School. What’s next on the horizon?
Obviously, I want to grow the company. I’m the youngest person to ever list on the stock market, so it’s a lot of pressure, but I know that I’m up for the challenge.
You are from an entrepreneurial family. Do you hope your son will one day run EduFocal?
I want my son to do whatever makes him happy. I want him to pursue his dreams and have the confidence to do what he wants, and if that is EduFocal, then that is great. If not, I will cheer him on with the same passion.
Director, 876 Group of Companies
What’s the greatest lesson being a parent has taught you?
Sacrifice. There are things that we as middle-age men want to do that we should put on hold now because we have children. And so, that time, effort and resources should be focused on them.
How does your parenting style differ from your twin brother’s?
My brother is married and lives with his children, so that makes the dynamics different, as he can physically spend more time. My daughter Mia-Alexia is six and for me, time is precious as she grows so fast, so I have to make every moment count.
You’re a director of 876 Group of Companies, which puts quite a bit of responsibility under your belt. How do you balance the roles and responsibilities of being a father with your professional obligations?
By having a strong and understanding mother of my child. With multiple ventures, we have to focus in order to be successful and be able to provide, so you definitely need that support. So having a committed and understanding partner is important.
Global ambassador, Johnnie Walker
You’re a Keeper of the Quaich. What does that role entail?
[The Quaich] it’s a drinking vessel that is traditionally made in Scotland out of wood, but nowadays it can be made from copper or silver. It means that we are the guardians of the industry. You become a member by invitation of the Scotland Whiskey Association, and today we are less than 2,500 members in more than 90 countries in the world. If you work in the industry, it is the highest recognition you can receive.
You’re doing a Father’s Day spread, whiskey included. What whiskey are you selecting, and what would you pair it with?
The whiskies selected are Johnnie Walker Black Label and Gold Reserve. The Black Label is the iconic whiskey and the most awarded from the House of Johnnie Walker. You can say it is the most-awarded whiskey from the most-awarded brand. Created in 1909, it just keeps walking and shows no sign of stopping. The Gold Reserve reflects the innovation and spirit of the brand that goes back 200 years. Based on this, we prepared a menu based on roasted cuisine as Johnnie Walker loves those smoky items, so that background pairs perfectly with barbecue, grilled and spicy foods.