Danielle Alvarez, the acclaimed head chef at Fred’s fine dining restaurant at Merivale in Paddington, has announced she will be leaving the restaurant in May. Alvarez was lured from America to Sydney by Justin Hemmes of Merivale to open the restaurant nearly six years ago. With her, she brought the farm-to-table ethic she learned at Alice Waters’ flagship California restaurant Chez Panisse, as well as experience at some of America’s other top restaurants, including the three-star at Michelin French Laundry.
In a statement, Alvarez says she wants to “take time away from the front line to focus more on the creative aspects of my career.”
“Without a doubt, developing Fred’s with Justin [Hemmes]starting with an idea sitting around his kitchen table, and then bringing it to life has been the greatest and most satisfying achievement of my personal career.
Fred’s is renowned for building close relationships with farmers and cooking produce simply over an open fire. The chefs cook behind a beautiful marble counter and the dining room evokes the warmth of a rustic farmhouse. When it opened in 2016, it further cemented Merivale’s ambition to become a major player in Sydney’s dining scene.
“While I ran Fred’s, I was extremely fortunate to work with so many talented people in the Merivale family and with dedicated, passionate farmers who value the good soils as much as the ingredients they grow,” says Alvarez. “It’s been an amazing journey to see this dream of feeding people simple, delicious, high-quality food in a beautiful setting surrounded by an open fire come to fruition, and I’m so proud of where it is today. cemented in the Community of Paddington and Sydney.
Alvarez’s replacement will be announced in due course.