Danielle Alverez cooks with both heart and mind. Her food is created to nourish, with an eye to respecting and valuing 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 chefs, first at The French Laundry, then Boulettes Larder and finally Chez Panisse. In these kitchens Alvarez 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, along with valuable lessons in how food can contribute to social responsibility.
Alvarez 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 Alvarez and the restaurant won fast acclaim, including 2018 Gourmet Traveller Best New Restaurant of the Year and recognition in the New York Times, and were quickly rated among the best in the country.
In 2020 Alvarez published her highly successful first book Always Add Lemon. In 2022, following six years at the helm of Fred’s, she decided it was time to press pause on restaurant life. Today she can be found writing her second cookbook, preparing recipes for Good Food and other publications, or on television sharing her love of cooking on shows such as The Good Food Kitchen which she co-hosted with Adam Liaw.
When not writing or testing recipes, Alvarez is enjoying the opportunity to eat at some of Sydney’s wonderful restaurants, indulge in simple meals at home with her partner and their dog Ripley, and contemplate exciting new projects that follow her values.