Food News

Chef Danielle Alvarez to take over the Sydney Opera House

The former Fred's chef has been announced as culinary director of the Sydney Opera House’s event venues
Danielle Alvarez outside the Sydney Opera House

Danielle Alvarez outside the Sydney Opera House

Alan Benson

Australia’s most iconic building is set to welcome chef Danielle Alvarez beneath its sails as she takes on the new role of culinary director for Sydney Opera House’s event venues.

“I really just want to bring my food philosophy to the Opera House. I’m working to bring along a lot of the small suppliers that I’ve used in the past, and really focus on Australian ingredients and seafood,” says Alvarez.

Alvarez joins Trippas White Group – operator of the Opera House’s internal food and beverage event spaces – who also oversee dining at Taronga Zoo, Centennial Homestead and Bar 83. Alavarez joins an already stellar line up of culinary talent that call the Opera House home, including Peter Gilmore at Bennelong; and Indigenous chef Mark Olive at Midden.

Cucumber with gribiche, white anchovy and nasturtium

(Credit: Alan Benson)

As part of her new role, Alvarez has crafted bespoke menus for guests dining in the Yallamundi Rooms, the Utzon Room and Northern Foyers, offering 56 dishes in total, across canapes and plated mains.

“I don’t think enough people know that they can hire those spaces for a birthday, a wedding, corporate functions, whatever you want,” says Alvarez, who hopes to bring more eyes (and mouths) to the private dining spaces with her fresh line up of menus, which draw direct inspiration from the Opera House’s location.

“Really, you’re looking over the ocean, so there’s a lot of seafood on the menu. One of the canapes is Sydney rock oyster with a finger lime and passionfruit mignonette, which is just fresh and summery.” There’s also a wild caught snapper tartare, with Yarra Valley salmon roe, chives, creme fraiche and crispy crackers on the side; and a savoury mille-feuille. “It’s with whipped goat cheese and slow-roasted confit tomatoes and basil oil,” says Alvarez.

Savoury mille-feuille

(Credit: Alan Benson)

The building’s grand structure also inspired the chef, who says she has stepped up her plating as a result. “The plating is a lot more architectural than I would’ve ever done in the past. I think that kind of just naturally came through from the space, of course,” says Alvarez.

Alvarez will also celebrate her appointment and the release of her new cookbook Recipes for a Lifetime of Beautiful Cooking with an in conversation event in November.

The role will see Alvarez work more on public-facing events in the future. “I’m going to be curating different events throughout the year. So it’s not just writing the menus, but I’ll also be planning some cool things.”

Whether it’s your own special event, or attending someone else’s, Alvarez hopes to see you at the Opera House soon. “The Opera House is so open to everyone. I can’t think of another cultural institution that is that inviting. It’s the people’s house.”

The Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney.

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