Missed out on Noma? Get your Redzepi contact high instead this March when the other half of the Copenhagen culinary power couple appears as a surprise highlight of March into Merivale. Nadine Levy Redzepi is in Sydney while her husband, René Redzepi, runs the Noma Australia pop-up, and she's keeping busy, cooking dinner with Danielle Alvarez, the Chez Panisse-trained chef opening Fred's this autumn. At Uccello on 17 March the pair present an evening celebrating the wholesome joys of home-style cooking, just one standout in the five-week festival that's known for its unusual and idiosyncratic events.
It's the first time the duo will share a kitchen. They were introduced by mutual friend and Noma alumnus Ben Greeno, who currently heads The Paddington kitchen for Merivale. "Ben thought it would be a good match," says Alvarez. "As Nadine says, she's not a trained chef but a home cook, and I feel a real connection to that. The meal is all about what we would cook for our friends and family, and I'm really excited to see her perspective on things."
While the dinner will showcase simple pleasures, this year's overarching festival theme is guilty pleasures. That means mystery feasts, a kicks-and-chopsticks collaboration by Ms G's chefs Dan Hong and Paul Donnelly, and chocolate masterclasses with the master herself, Lorraine Godsmark.
There's plenty happening on the booze side of things, too. Wash down the excitement with some limited-edition reserve wines poured by Villa Maria's Josh Hammond and group sommelier Franck Moreau, or original concoctions stirred in 16 different cocktail dens at the Establishment on 9 March.
All the fun begins at the launch party hosted at Ivy on 10 February, where Alvarez will be serving her own guilty pleasure - a baseball park-style hot dog.
March into Merivale, 14 February to 20 March. Tickets are on sale now.