Daniele Wilton | Who's Your

WHO'S YOUR? is the curated black book of the best in their business.


Daniele Wilton

Managing Director and Co-Founder, Smudge Publishing
Daniele is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Smudge Publishing and Smudge Eats, overseeing everything from editorial, design and administration. Teaming up with her mother and sister to create Smudge Publishing in 2009, Daniele and the Smudge team have produced some of Australia’s most loved coffee-table books such as the Produce to Platter series, The Burger Book, Flavours of Melbourne/Sydney and many more! The team's efforts have been recognised in New York City with an International IPPY Award for their first Flavours of Melbourne book. Daniele’s passion for food, wine and all things local shines through Smudge Publishing, with Smudge Eats the latest digital addition to the group.

Name: Daniele Wilton

Home is… Prahran, Victoria

What do you do?
I run the business and manage the team at Smudge Publishing and Smudge Eats. We are a culinary travel publisher publishing hard cover books around Australia and now we have a large digital presence, Smudge Eats.

What inspired you to start Smudge Publishing back in 2009?
Culinary travel is something I am very passionate about and at the end of 2008 when I finished my Uni degree, Mum (Jonette) and I decided to head down to the Mornington Peninsula and explore the region. What we discovered down there was so many passionate people and businesses creating fantastic products and we thought why don’t we create a book together. Most people I know travel to destinations for the food, so we thought publishing books based around that would be very interesting. We published our first book on the Mornington Peninsula and included all the restaurants, wineries, breweries, produce and farm gates.

In what ways has the business changed and grown over the past six years? Have your predictions for the business become reality?
The business has turned into something we would never have imagined. Mum and I thought we would just travel around Australia as a 2 man band and create 1 book per year. 2 years after we created the Mornington Peninsula Produce to Platter book, my sister stepped into the business as well and we got ourselves a little office in Prahran. From there it has grown into 7 books per year and a team of 15 full time foodies.

You’ve recently created Smudge Eats, an online hub and directory for all things food, wine, coffee and culture. What sets Smudge Eats apart from other websites in this space?
Smudge Eats is a site for lovers of culinary travel. The idea behind it was to have all of our printed content online to showcase our wonderful photography and content.  Since its launch in May this year, it has grown into much more than just our printed content. It houses over 900 recipes from top chefs around Australia as well as over 1000 directory listings. We set ourselves apart from other websites that are similar because we really get behind the stories of the venues. We make sure we talk to each of the owners and find out why they are doing what they are doing. Some other websites in the similar space to us just write about the airy-fairy kind of things ie. The décor, what is on the menu – but we really research all our articles before they go live. Video is also a major part of our website – we are delving into this space by interviewing chefs and getting their story on camera. I think it is really going to take off – watch this space!

What has been the best thing about going into business with your family? What has been the most challenging?
The best thing about family business is that you know your partners so well before going into business with them. I think for us we are very lucky because Mum, Katie and I are all so close. Instead of being afraid to tell each other what we think, we don’t hold back. This can also be the most challenging…sometimes we don’t want to hear everything that our family member has to say.

You’re always jet setting around Australia and the world for work. What are your top five essentials in your carry-on?
A good pair of headphones
Coconut oil
A good book
A wrap/scarf to keep me warm when it gets cold
Chewing gum

Best coffee in Melbourne and why?
Three Bags Full…the breakfast is insane!

What’s the most played song on your playlist?
To Me, Chet Faker. I am kind of in love! Or Babylon, David Gray

People don’t expect this about me but…
I don’t drink coffee…

Quote to live by?
Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life!

We know that ‘Flavours of Bali’ is currently in the making. What’s next on the agenda for Smudge Publishing?
There is a lot in the pipeline for 2016 including Flavours of Western Australia, The Booze Book and we are thinking about squeezing in the ultimate culinary destination, Flavours of New York City.

  • As a massive foodie, you must have several amazing cookbooks – who’s your advisor on the newest must have books?
  • Stephen knows his cookbooks and is always the best at recommending something new and exciting.