Danielle Alvarez is hosting a Masterclass at Sydney Seafood School on Wednesday 8th November. Book here.
Danielle Alvarez cooks with both heart and mind. Her food is created to nourish, with an eye to respecting and valuing our producers. This is food that plays a role in building better, more thoughtful societies. This is considered cooking.
Born to a food-loving Cuban family in Miami, it was the lure of the kitchen that first took her to California. There, she worked with some of America’s finest, first at The French Laundry, then Boulettes Larder and finally Chez Panisse. In these kitchens she learnt about farm-to-table cooking, responding to the seasons, and working with a menu that evolved daily. Her four years at Chez Panisse under David Tanis, Jean Pierre Moulle and Alice Waters were particularly character forming – she learnt old-world techniques and an appreciation for making things from scratch, it was also full of valuable lessons in how food can play a role in social responsibility.
Danielle brought these values with her to Sydney in 2016, when (after a serendipitous encounter) the Merivale Group asked her to head up and design the kitchen in what was to become their strikingly beautiful Paddington restaurant, Fred’s. Both Danielle and the restaurant won fast acclaim – and were quickly rated among the best in the country.
With a passion for sustainability and these old-world styles of cooking, Alvarez assembled a team of like-minded chefs and staff, and carefully curated a list of local farmers – fruit, vegetable, dairy, poultry, fish and meat suppliers – who provided the bulk of ingredients on the daily changing menu. The restaurant was built around a large open kitchen, and was designed to feel like home. All the cooking happened over open fires, adding an element of theatre.
Since opening, Fred’s became one of the most beloved restaurants in Australia. The restaurant received a number of accolades, including winning the 2018 Gourmet Traveller Best New Restaurant of the Year, taking out top spot in delicious magazine’s Top 100 Restaurants, and being voted number one in The Australian’s Hot 50 Restaurants of 2017. Alvarez was awarded Time Out Chef of the Year in 2017, and was also a finalist for the 2018 Good Food Guide Chef of the Year and the 2018 Gourmet Traveller Best New Talent award. Danielle and Fred’s have been featured in the New York Times as a part of ‘the new guard’ of young chefs leading prominent kitchens in Sydney.
In 2020, Danielle published her highly successful first book, Always Add Lemon. In 2022, following six years at the helm of Fred’s, Danielle decided it was time to press pause on restaurant life. She has now written another cookbook entitled Recipes for a Lifetime of Beautiful Cooking which will be published in October 2023. She is also featured every fortnight in the Good Weekend Magazine as a regular recipe contributor. Danielle can also be seen on The Good Food Kitchen which she co-hosted with Adam Liaw and Julia Bussutil Nishimura. Danielle has also spent the past year working with brands and private clients to bring food events to life and also consulting for new restaurant projects around Australia. When not working, Danielle is enjoying the opportunity to eat at some of Sydney’s wonderful restaurants, or indulge in simple meals at home with her partner and their dog Ripley; all while contemplating what other excellent projects are out there that follow her values!