As part of the Focalized interview series, Focal Journey celebrates and highlights the hard work of colleagues (photographers, bloggers, stylists, designers, etc.) whose creativity and passion enhance the travel, lifestyle, and design industries.
Focal Journey has the pleasure to introduce you to Daniel Desforges, one of Toronto’s most influential bloggers.
FJ: Daniel, you are currently one of Toronto’s most influential bloggers. But for those who still don’t know you, who is Daniel Desforges?
Well, my “official” titles include Founder & Managing Editor for DoTheDaniel.com and Business Manager for FASHIONIGHTS.com. But aside from the labels, I am a 30-year-old man who loves food, wine, Toronto, and being in love. I’m a no nonsense kind of person who doesn’t like to over complicate anything. I like to think I am genuine and that what you see is what you get. No lies, no fakeness, no games. In an industry that can be predominantly full of those things, I chose to be real. And to me, that is the most important thing of all.
FJ: Congratulations for your recently launched website. Tell us how the concept of www.DoTheDaniel.com was born.
In 2013, my contribution to FASHIONIGHTS as the Food & Lifestyle Contributor developed a substantial following and my column Daniel’s Dish has even been recognized in 2013 as one of the top 5 Food Columns in the country to follow. As 2013 drew to a close, it became clear that my content had made a strong enough impact and needed room to grow. And so, on January 1st 2014, we launched www.DoTheDaniel.com as a sister site to FASHIONIGHTS. DoTheDaniel takes the FASHIONIGHTS Food & Lifestyle brand and allows it to flourish.
FJ: There are lots of restaurants, cafés, and galleries opening in Toronto every week. How do you decide what places/people you will feature on your website?
Above all else, it has to make sense to my readers. Without them, I wouldn’t have this incredible life and brand new site. The point of DoTheDaniel is to stay ahead of the trends. I try my best to take the hustle and bustle of the Food & Lifestyle world to make it chic, professional and most important of all, approachable. I will always try to be one of the first to review a new restaurant or a new lifestyle topic. I never want to follow other outlets, I want to lead them to the latest and greatest.
FJ: Most people don’t know about all the effort and sacrifice behind your work. What is the most difficult or challenging aspect of being a lifestyle blogger?
Balancing a double life is by far the hardest part. Many of our fans don’t realize that most bloggers and influencers do this because we love it. But unfortunately love doesn’t pay the bills. It takes a long time to make a brand that you can support yourself with. I actually do the 9-5 thing on top of my online life and it basically leads to working two full-time jobs. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything! I’d rather be busy than bored, and I love what I do.
FJ: You are a busy bee indeed! And you probably get to eat at amazing restaurants and meet lots of fascinating people. Tell us about a place/person that you would like to review about the most.
I would love to take Daniel’s Dish cross country in 2014 and start to write about some of the best restaurants in Canada. If I had to pick one person to interview, I think it would be Chef Lynn Crawford. I love her candid demeanor and no nonsense approach to food because it mirrors my own. That and I think I would just love to sit down and chat with her as a person!
FJ: What is your favourite city in the world?
That’s a tough one! I love my home city of Toronto, but I would have to say that London (England) is my favourite city in the world. I’ve been several times and would actually love to live there one day. The culture, the food and the history of the city stole my heart years ago. It is the hub of culture in my mind and a city like no other.
FJ: London stole my heart as well, but now I call Toronto home. And you are definitely a Toronto connoisseur. What is this city’s best kept secret?
My secret would be smaller restaurants in niche neighbourhoods. I’ve found that Torontonians stick to what they like and are sometimes opposed to stepping out of their comfort zone. I’ve had some of the best dining experiences of my life in small independently owned restaurants around the city and most of them haven’t been in the best of areas. All I can say is don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge a restaurant by its address. The new foodie area to watch is Dundas Street West. In five years time, I guarantee it will be the new Ossington foodie strip.
FJ: I definitely see Dundas Street West becoming the new foodie strip in the city. Now, what is the most memorable event/review in your career as a lifestyle blogger?
My very first Daniel’s Dish would have to be my most memorable because it’s what started this all. KITCH, located in the west end of the city, really helped to remind me of why I love food & writing about it. (http://www.dothedaniel.com/toronto/daniels-dish-kitch-bar/). Though my writing style has definitely come a long way since I wrote that particular review, I try to bring the same passion, excitement, and enthusiasm I had that night to everything I do with the site and the column.
FJ: Focal Journey specialises in travel, lifestyle, and design. Any particular brand related to any of these three areas that you would like to collaborate with?
I’d love to know what’s your favourite Argentinian restaurant in Toronto and write a Daniel’s Dish on it. I love learning about cuisines from around the world and Argentinian is still on my list of to do’s for the great city of Toronto. Travel is on the horizon for the site, and working towards a series of destination posts would be my goal by the end of the year. Daniel’s Destination has a nice ring to it for a column, don’t you think?
FJ: Daniel’s Destination sounds like a wonderful idea, and I would love to see DotheDaniel.com go global. Thank you kindly, Daniel, for your time and for letting us all know a little bit more about you and your exciting new projects.
Focal Journey (by Gustavo Espinola)
Special thanks to: Amanda Hayden