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Pull up a chair with… Danielle Alvarez

With the opening of Fred’s just around the corner, we chat to Head Chef Danielle Alvarez about the future of female-led restaurants, her favourite city to eat in, and what she cooks for dinner when she just can’t be bothered. 

What’s your go-to lazy person dinner to cook when you just can’t be bothered? Spaghetti with anchovy, garlic and chilli.

What’s an underrated ingredient you love to work with? Greens! I think people really underestimate how delicious Swiss chard, cavolo nero (Lacinato kale) or cabbage can be. Especially now in winter; they are perfect at the moment.

What three things would we always find in your fridge? Anchovies, because see question 1; cornichons (pickled gherkins) because they are a favourite snack; and orange juice because I start every day with a glass.

What’s your favourite city to eat in? Paris! Le sigh.

Fred’s is going to place a lot of emphasis on organic, seasonal produce. How do you feel about the much-touted term ‘farm to table’? It makes me cringe a little because hopefully all of our food has come from a farm at some point. I don’t want to bash anyone, but to truly claim your restaurant is “farm to table” you need to have spent a great deal of time communicating with farmers and working out logistics. It’s a huge commitment. One that I believe adds great value, but is certainly not the easiest way.

You will have female chefs on staff with you at Fred’s and also female management. Why was that important to you? It’s not something I set out to do on purpose. I like working with women and men, and the balance between the two makes a great environment. Women bring something to the proverbial table that men don’t and vice versa.

What’s next for the restaurant scene? I think we are seeing a shift in the way people dine. There will always be a place for fine dining, but I think because we eat out so much and are all so busy, we want to eat in a relaxed environment where we feel comfortable any given night of the week. Places where you can have fun with your friends, family and partners, and enjoy delicious food and drinks at the same time. 

Fred’s is set to launch in Paddington in the coming months, and will feature an ever-fluid menu based on Danielle’s expertly curated farm finds.