Name: Dee de los Santos
Blog name: Gastrofork
Where were you born? Vancouver born and raised!
Where are you living now? Vancouver
Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog for two main reasons. The first was to learn from my dad how to cook Filipino food and to have a record of it either on the blog or on our Youtube channel – mostly because my dad has taught me over the years how to make these items but I always forget and to have a record of it somewhere was helpful! It was just an added bonus that people really loved the recipes!
The second reason I started my blog was to share my thoughts on the restaurants I visited with my friends, who always came to me for advice on where to go, what dishes to try, etc. I was also learning a lot more about different cultures, how they made their food and thought it was fun to share.
How did you decide on your blog name?
I get very opposite end spectrum reactions to my blog name, some people get it and some people have told me it sounds like a disease! But if we’re talking origin story, my blog name is from a video game series I love, Final Fantasy – it’s one of the ultimate weapons a character can wield!
What do you blog about?
I blog mostly about restaurant experiences here in BC but also in my travels, I share recipes – mostly Filipino and fun desserts I like to make. I’ve recently expanded to include local events and travel, mostly because I felt many local businesses are fantastic but have barely any coverage here.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
I’d have to say that Gastrofork is a hobby. I’ve had many great opportunities come out from it that have been paid, but I don’t think I make enough from these opportunities to deem it a business.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
I think the most recent blog post that encapsulates me is my Yui Japanese Bistro post - simply because I like covering local businesses that are interesting and often under-represented.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
Not one particular post, but I’d love for my videos to get more love! I have so much fun making them, whether they’re recipes, recaps or just what I’ve been doing for the week. I’ve always been into creating videos and I’ve only really integrated it into my blog recently.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
I’m really surprised how well my Philips Air Fryer posts (and videos!) are doing.
I received the air fryer to review and I have to say that although I tried my best, I didn’t truly feel the quality of the content was that good to begin with (shooting it on portrait for example is a big mistake) but it just seems to keep going!
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
The biggest challenge is mostly keeping up with posting and sharing on social.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a blogger is that you can’t please everyone and while it’s important to take advice and constructive criticism, you should always stay true to who you are and what you deem is right for your blog and it’s direction.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
Ooh, that’s tough. I read a lot of food blogs because I’ve met so many amazing people in the industry. Some that come to mind:
Mardi Michels (eat. live. travel. write) - I met her a while ago on a FAM trip to Kelowna with FBC and she was lovely – the work she does in her community (teaching kids how to cook, macaron classes, etc) is amazing.
Diana Chan (Foodology) - If you haven’t met Diana yet, you really have to. She’s a wonderful and encouraging person – she makes the effort to get to know her food community and is so heavily involved in it. I love that she is not afraid to write about anything interesting and delicious she finds on her journey!
Mijune Pak (Follow Me Foodie) – Although she doesn’t blog as often anymore (because ya know, she’s been busy on Top Chef Canada), I’ve always admired her dedication to detail. She’s one of the hardest working foodies I know and I’m so glad to see her reach her level of success!
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
It’s always hard to pin down a favourite type of food – I think I’d have to go with either Japanese or Chinese cuisine. I think because I can go between fine dining and eating at dives, it’s given me a great respect for the backstory of a restaurant or the importance that goes into creating a meal. If you want a recommendation for a recently visited dive, I got the perfect one: Happy Date – it’s one of the most ghetto looking places in Richmond with it’s furniture stuck in the 80s, but their lobster combo is pretty good.
What are you working on next for your blog?
I’ve fallen in love with creating videos – specifically on Youtube and I’m trying to figure out a way to integrate this more so on my blog. I’m working on some collaborations with some friends and brands that are coming down the pipe in the weeks to come!
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I love supporting local companies, start-ups and when I’m not working, blogging, creating videos, I’m usually playing video games.
What makes your blog unique?
I’d like to think my blog is diverse - you can find some great hole in the walls I’ve reviewed but you can also check out some of the fine dining experiences I’ve had recently. I want my blog to be welcoming to everyone, all walks of life and I like to add a nerdy gamer twist to some of my recipes!
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
I think the opportunities to pitch post ideas and business/partnership opportunities are the most useful part of the FBC site.
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