“Was I super scared to leave? Yes. The idea had been simmering for a while. And when the time came, it just felt totally right, like something I needed to do. ”
Danielle speaking to Judy via Zoom, September 2022
Danielle Alvarez is a force. Born to a food-loving Cuban family in Miami, the lure of the kitchen took her to California to work 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. As well, the art of cooking with fire, and the joy of kitchen projects – from pickling to preserving, to making bread and yoghurt.
Her four years at Chez Panisse under David Tanis and Alice Waters were character forming – she learnt not just old-world techniques and an appreciation for making things from scratch, but also about social responsibility and the role food plays building better, more thoughtful societies. She brought these values with her to Sydney in 2016, when (after a serendipitous encounter) the Merivale Group asked her to head up the kitchen in their strikingly beautiful new Paddington restaurant, Fred’s. She and the restaurant won fast acclaim – and continued to be rated among the best in the country.
In May 2022, Danielle finished her tenure at Fred’s. She is currently writing her second cookbook whilst presenting Season 2 of Good Food Kitchen (9now).