Each month we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This month we meet Andrew, Toronto-based writer and photographer. Andrew shares informative and entertaining food and travel stories on his blog.
Name: Andrew John Virtue Dobson
Blog name: Dobbernationloves.com
Where were you born? Edmonton
Where are you living now? Toronto
Why did you start your blog?
I launched my blog just days before I went on a backpacking trip of Europe after graduating from university. I wanted to document my travels so friends/family could easily check in on me.
How did you decide on your blog name?
Dobson is my last name. “Dobber” has been a long-used nickname. Dobber + Nation was the idea that I was creating a space for me to share my thoughts while traveling.
What do you blog about?
I originally launched as a travel blog where I focused on culinary tourism, visiting wineries/breweries/distilleries and experiencing local dishes. Then I became a freelance travel journalist and became more well known as a luxury travel writer. Post pandemic majority of our stories are recipes and I’m just getting back to more travel stories this year.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
It’s been my only source of income since 2012 when I left my last full time job.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
All of the recipes I write are inspired by dishes or drinks I’ve had while traveling or are family recipes that I’ve reimagined. This year I had my most viral story ever which was read by over 200,000 people in 3 days. Inspired by my trip to the Amalfi Coast and prepared with homemade Limoncello this ice cream shows how I connect my travel experiences to getting curious in the kitchen with DIY recipes.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I wish more people read my luxury hotel guides but they are really hard to rank for on Google SERP as you’re in big competition with Expedia, TripAdvisor, Four Seasons etc… I do love hearing when people have planned an entire vacation around my stories for a city/country/region!
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
I’m always delighted when readers comment on blog posts from around the world. I wrote a story on how to make “Kiwi Muffins” and a lot of people from New Zealand post about how much they love the recipe.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Managing my time. Over the next year I’ll be traveling on press trips for around 6 months so I work well in advance to plan itineraries so everything runs smoothly. Managing the business finances while on the road can be tricky as well as the freelancers I work with on top of my own content deliverables I always feel like I’m juggling 100 things at once but I suppose that’s also what attracts me to being an entrepreneur. No day at work is boring!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
I’ve often surprised myself at how good I am at educating clients/readers. I essentially have learned I really like to teach people how to do things both on the client side (educating DMOs or food brands about SEO, Google trends etc…) as well as readers on how to cook or how to plan a trip.
What has been your biggest success as a blogger so far?
I’ve secured over 200,000 in government grant funding to invest in my business.
Share a couple of your favourite food blog articles to read.
Nuts and Bolts: a family recipe that goes viral every Thanksiving
Pizzoccheri: I searched all over Toronto to find the unique cheese required for this pastas dish and the hunt was well worth it so delicious!
Squamish/Whistler Breweries: my first press trip since the pandemic was a great opportunity to explore Whistler for the first time in beautiful BC!
What are you working on next for your blog?
I’m leaving in 3 weeks to spend 2 months in Thailand. I’ll be visiting over 25 luxury hotels to write about the top restaurants, cocktail bars, afternoon teas in Bangkok then heading south to Phuket to write honeymoon resort guides.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
While I love food and travel I’ve also always been a huge fan of film (and almost studied it in university instead of going to Guelph University for Hotel & Food Admin). I was the TIFF reporter for Metro Newspaper for several years and once watched 78 movies in 10 days!
What makes your blog unique?
All of our stories are comprehensive and well researched. Some stories are over 15,000 words long while the average is 2-3000. We always strive to write the best article online about a subject. The site goes beyond just being a food and travel site we proudly write about the LGBT community, female entrepreneurs, indigenous tourism and I’ve documented my disability journey with hearing impairment.
How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog?
I’m active daily on social media and respond to all blog comments and questions I get online.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
Travel guides on the site are helpful especially those that focus on a unique region in Canada.
Follow Andrew on Social Media