I have the very lucky pleasure of introducing a very rare treat, a discussion with Chuck Ortiz, Editor-In-Chief of ACQTaste Magazine. For this month’s East Dane Laundry List Ortiz and I met up at his barber shop in Toronto’s Blue Jays Way District. Not at all accustomed to giving interviews Ortiz humoured a friend (me)—we met a couple years ago on a press trip that forged a lot of truly memorable friendships in the Czech Republic.
Ortiz intrigued me from day one, he’s got an incredible mixture of entrepreneurial spirit, demure demeanour and creative eye. I’ve followed his magazine and had the good fortune to collaborate with him over the years. Talking to him about fashion was a great moment to touch base and connect on things that sometimes we overlook. Read on and enjoy!
Where are you off to next?
For work? New York city really soon. I can’t take off a whole week anymore and there have been so many things going on. The bigger trips that need like a week I just can’t do anymore. Between work and my baby girl it’s too much. We’re also busy with all the branded content.
It’s amazing to see how far you’ve come over the past couple years.
New York is a big one cause we’re going to meet the agency that we’ve been working with over the past six months.
Other than that the San Pellegrino Magazine is done, I should have it in my hands in the next 2-3 weeks from the printer.
Amazing! Who’s it getting sent out to?
They want to send it to all the top Chef’s in America first so it’s going to be hand delivered to thousands of Chefs the David Changs et al… Then the rest will be at selected cafés and shops. Not entirely sure how San Pellegrino will handle it but they will be given out very selectively.
My question to you: having ventured into food and creating original content, being on camera so much, how does what you wear factor in?
It’s at the point now that we work with so many brands that I wouldn’t say we’re an agency, we’re a content creator, a creative services business, so we’re doing a lot more pitches meeting brand managers and we’re out there. The fact that we’re a publication first and foremost means that we’re going out to every event in the city and rubbing shoulders with The National Post, Toronto Life and The Coveteur. You have to be prepared to be in front of the camera. For the longest time it was me behind the camera but I kind of accept the fact that as we grow as a company and as a brand we are going to be around the camera a lot more.
And, there has to be a face.
There has to be a face.
People want to know who you are.
Do you have any tricks to prepare yourself for the camera?
Not really, I do so much and we are a younger, more urban cooler company so I don’t mind standing out. I’m not going to be in a suit. I’m not going to wear jeans, or a jersey to a high-end event, but I’m not the type of guy to be in a five-thousand dollar pair of jeans. Just straight forward brands; the way I look at food is the same way I look at fashion. I have my go-to restaurants where it’s tried-tested-and-true good quality, reliable stuff. With clothing I go with brands that I know I can wear every single day, great quality, great price and that over time will last you. Once in a while I’ll buy something that’s out of my zone but not often.
What are your staple restaurants? It’s Friday night, it’s been a long week, where are you going?
I’m going to go see my homie Grant [Van Gameren] at Bar Raval. Odd Seoul’s another amazing spot I love to go to. I wouldn’t say fancier, but something more involved I’d say Hopgoods Foodliner for some seafood. I’m a big taco guy so like La Carniata. I like DaiLo, it’s all on the same strip I know…
But that strip is happening for a good reason.
Yeah, it’s good variety and you would think that a place like Bar Raval opening up the others would loose business, but it’s just more food traffic and the spill over works in all directions. People see that block as a good destination. Every once in a while I’ll dress up and go somewhere fancy, but I’m a very simple guy.
Do you have any brands that you’re drawn to?
Levi’s, Nike, Club Monaco. Aside from the fact that I work with Nike, everything is just good gear. I love things that are simple without branding which is why I like Club Monaco, it’s simple and I don’t draw attention to myself.
What’s the balance between the preppy and urban look?
I kind of fill it in with pieces form like Stussy or Timberlands. There are some random Supreme pieces.
Any big events coming up?
We’re working on a couple and they are tied to the brands we’re working with, so more experiential events that I can’t say just yet. One of the thing I want to do more of is meaningful stuff and doing more charitable work.
Who would be cooking?
The idea is to take over a soup kitchen for a day and bring in a chef to cook. Nothing fancy, no balloons or music, just feeding the people who come in. That one day they get to eat something really spectacular, we’ll film it and share the video. I want to do more talks.
I’m doing a talk at the Drake about fashion!
Get out, I’m there! (p.s. he did come out!)
Where’s a new restaurant you haven’t tried yet?
The guys from Odd Seoul opened up a new joint called Han Moto I want to check that out for sure. It’s similar take on Korean/North American fare.
When you’re in New York what are you go-to restaurants?
The thing in New York, there’s always the staples we wanna go to like Momofuku, Mission Chinese and we’ll have a list of spots we need to check out. We don’t really get to sleep while we’re there.
That’s not really what that city is for.
Yeah, the city def never sleeps.
Amazing, you’re gonna have the best time! Thanks for meeting up with me today!
Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I’m always flying below the radar so this is fun. It’s always like you’re at the party and at the end you notice, “Oh there’s Chuck in the corner!”
Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffel; Obey Journey 5 Panel Hat; Deux Ex Machina Belbin Shirt; Carhartt WIP Sid Shorts; gestalten Kitchen Kulture: Interiors for Cooking and Private Food Experiences; Converse Chuck Taylor All Star 70s Sneaker; Rag & Bone Standard Issue Basic Henley; Citizens of Humanity Bowery Pure Slim Jeans; Sperry A/O Classic Boat Shoes on White Sole; A.P.C. Kenickie Teddy Jacket.
Laundry List(s) Archives:
Grant Van Gameren
Parambir Singh Keila
Joseph of Mercury
Brian A. Richards
Eric The Tutor