Dani Valent – Writer. Eater. Traveller. Cook.


Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 4.32.31 pm

Perfect Cheesecake’s Secret Ingredient

Life goes better with Basque cheesecake, a lockdown #2 love affair. I became obsessed with this cake about five years ago when I ate it in San Sebastian at La Viña pintxos bar. It was perilously wobbly and jiggly, somehow both light and rich, creamy white and custardy within but with a bitter edge from the dark, caramelised perimeter. I mumbled, “It’s a miracle,” and I meant it.


Saffrontini 2

Picnics and Party Food

Dainty bites, fresh flavours and dishes that don’t mind being moved from kitchen to hamper to blanket, or being passed around on a tray at a stand-up gathering…That’s what’s on my mind with these picnic and party favourites. Rustle up some of these beauties at your Melbourne Cup Day party, spring luncheon or pool-deck gathering.



Exploring Mexican Food

When I travel, I always head straight for the produce markets. It’s because I love seeing what’s growing, what people are eating, and I also love the buzz and bustle of market life. Mexican markets are so incredibly energetic: noisy, busy, fragrant, intense!


Zhoug & Salmon Salad

I love a big meal-sized salad! Flavoured with green chilli paste, this steamed salmon salad is healthy, flexible and easy to prepare

Sign up for fortnightly newsletters with food news, giveaways, recipes and more.
I’ll also send you my Fab 4 Family Favourites Recipe eBook for free!

"I love leading people to great food experiences whether it's at home, a restaurant or on the road. My recipes, videos, events, restaurant reviews and journalism are all about sparking tasty adventures."

Featured recipes!

Is it delicious, achievable and leaping onto your plate right now? Then it’s here.

Search more of my delicious favourites here

Featured Ingredients!

RSS Authory Feeds | Dani Valent
  • Gai Wong review
    THEME: SPECIALISTS Gai Wong is a busy order-and-pay canteen specialising in Hainanese chicken rice on a CBD-fringe roundabout. That might sound simple but this business has a huge back story and a whole lot of heart. It's owned by Shirley Chow and…
  • Why Melbourne's most exciting new restaurants are opening in the outer suburbs
    Suburban restaurants that kept their neighbourhoods fed during lockdown are now reaping the benefits, finding that diners are still doing a lot of their eating out within five kilometres of home. Cinzia Buono opened Buono Italian restaurant in…
  • Vesper Bistro and Bar review
    Luxury is relative. In Japan, prestige dining might mean eating slivers of potentially poisonous fugu. In Indonesia, it could be a healing stew of black chicken. In Iran, fragrant saffron signals riches. And in Italy, treasures include prized white…
  • How Australia can address the great hospo staffing crisis
    Hospitality is in crisis. Again. Diners are keen to eat out but there aren't enough staff to cook the chooks and pour the pinot. The evidence is everywhere: in job market statistics and the laments of industry players. You can deduce it from the…


Audio restaurant review on @dirtylinenpodcast! Link in bio!

I'm always considering new possibilities when it comes to communicating about food. One reason I love doing podcasts is that the form is really fresh and free. This is a pretty rough attempt at a review on the fly from @nomad.au. Let me know what you think!

As restaurant critic, I've gone from notebooks in the toilet to notes and pics on my phone to sitting at the table with a big microphone! 😅 (If it looks like I'm serenading my dinner in this pic it's probs true.)

Thanks to Nomad - especially Tyler for looking after us most of the night, @jaimee.pollock
for being a great sport when I ambushed her with the mic as she delivered the delicious pork dish, and chef @jacqueline_challinor for a great meal.

Speaking of trying stuff out on podcasts, next week on Dirty Linen we are taking a deep dive into @thecarltonwineroom, speaking to 5 different people there to tell the story of a restaurant over a whole week.

Thanks @foodwinedine
for producing as I try stuff out in pod-land.

I've been writing for the Good Food Guide for ages & it's always exciting to see the finished product but I don't think I've ever had the feeling of elation that swept me up this morning when I unwrapped this mag.

I think it's because we've never ever celebrated restaurants with the effervescent gratitude and empathetic admiration and unfathomable hunger that we're feeling now.

It's been so hard. It's been so long. It's been so uncertain. So to see and feel and hold the bright optimism threaded through this glossy Guide is a very special victory.

There are no hats or scores this year which somehow also expresses the solidarity and community of hospitality and food publishing. We need you, we laud you, we love you. So let's eat!

Huge congrats to @mjmharry @myffyrigby and the whole @goodfoodau team. It all got a bit lockdowny there for a while but Look What You Made!


Hello, we're back, and it's so good to see you. After an intensely challenging 20 months, the hospitality industry has come out the other side, and we're ready to hear the specials and have a glass of something delicious.
If we learnt anything in lockdown, it was that eating and drinking out is a vital part of life, and Victoria has one of the most exciting, agile and creative dining scenes in the world. The quality of the produce, diversity of cuisines, and the passion of its people makes this state an agenda-setting place to eat, whether it's a power brunch, a late-night feast, a round of snacks or a life-changing degustation. You'll get the lowdown on the best of the best in the Good Food Guide magazine, free in today's @theageaustralia.
This summer we're fully vaxxed, checked in, and ready to party. It's time to make a booking and try something new. Where do you want to go tonight?

– Michael Harry, Victorian Editor @mjmharry

Find highlights from the Victorian Good Food Guide magazine via the link in our bio. Cover: Kaya jam parfait with Davidson plum and koji waffle at Aru. 📸 @jana_langhorst #goodfoodguideau22 #goodfoodau #bestrestaurants
Reposted from @goodfoodau

New suburban restaurants that got tight with their neighbourhoods in the 5K days are now smashing it.

Their customers win too: lower rents mean better produce, cheaper wine and more staff to create a great experience. Link in bio to my story in @goodfoodAU
@theageaustralia featuring


📷 @simonschluter

Project Uttapam* takes a biiiiiig step forward with @wearekerala's delightful, dainty, doily-mounted uttapams with creme fraiche and @yarvalleycaviar trout roe. Just one highlight in a super enjoyable lunch at @avaniwines. Highly recommend snaring a seat at this Mornington Peninsula residency.

* I believe uttapam should be a standard item on Melbourne brunch menus. "Do you want that on sourdough or uttapam?" These southern Indian lentil and rice fermented pancakes are healthy, delicious, cheap, gluten-free and vegan.

#projectuttapam #uttapam

Open Borders

The PM announced today that Australia's borders would be open from December 1 to vaccinated visa holders.

Students, working holiday visa holders, skilled visa holders, graduate visa holders & others are included. They don't need to apply for an exemption - their visa & vaccination certificate are their entry permit.

It's huge news.

This is who I think about:

- those visa holders who have been stuck offshore for the whole pandemic - there are thousands of them. Eg sponsored chef whose life is here but went to India to visit sick mum in March 2020 and couldn't get back. They will be able to return.

- those visa holders who stuck it out here, even though they were unsupported by the Fed gov. These people have been unable to plan a trip home to visit family because they wouldn't be allowed back into Fortress Australia. They will now be able to leave & return.

- employers who are struggling to find enough staff to run their businesses in the way they want to. They may be able to recruit workers overseas, or employ workers who come here to seek jobs.

This news is welcome but it's definitely not a quick fix and there are flow-ons that may be problematic - eg there have been positives to hospo being an employees' market for a change.

Also, I wonder what will happen to the relaxing of the rule that international students can only work 40 hours a fortnight. Currently, they can work longer hours.

Let's see!

Fired up for Saturday night 🔥🌶️ ...


Yay Vic!

All density & capacity limits gone from tonight, 11.59pm Thurs 18 November! 🤩

Standing up to drink & indoor dancing is GO 💃🕺

Masks must still be worn by those serving customers in restaurants.

Masks must still be worn in indoor retail till Dec 15. 😷✅

Vaccinated economy remains (ie 12 years & 2months + must be vaccinated to dine in restaurants & attend non-essential retail).💉💉

Continue to check in ‼️❣️‼️ & test if have symptoms or have been in contact with a case.

Changes to iso rules: close contacts in a non-household setting must test & isolate until they get a negative result and then can return to normal life.
People who've tested will be encouraged to use rapid tests to ensure negative. Effectively the idea of primary close contacts is gone.😊👌

Deep cleaning no longer required 🙂

Closing businesses when cases attend not required. 😃

Positive vaxxed cases must isolate for 10 days (down from 14).🏡

If you've been anointed a Melbourne Food & Wine Festival Legend for your work as a communicator but you then find yourself lost for words, do they take your trophy away?

It's an enormous honour to be placed in such incredibly fine company as a @melbfoodandwine Legend. This award has been going since 1993 and I have long admired and lauded the pantheon of food people on the list, never imagining that I'd be placed in their company.

I don't know how to feel about it. Grateful and honoured, definitely. A bit shy. But also determined to leap on any platform that comes my way to talk about stuff that I think is important.

Food, fairness, kindness, community: now more than ever, we can see how crucial we are to one another, and what powerful good we can create together. I've never been more proud or happy to live in Melbourne. I have never been more excited to eat and drink here. I feel so moved by the rich life and culture in this city, excited by all the stories, the millions of things I've yet to learn or experience. Let's do it together!

This has been an intense couple of years. I would change a lot of it, because of how hard it's been for so many. I am glad, though, for the opportunities it's given me to grow, be loud and fearless, quiet and dogged.

I won't start thanking people because it will get long. But if we have connected - in any tiny or huge way - you have been part of this journey for me, and I thank you.

Congrats to fellow 2021 inductees @karen_martini @sharon__flynn, Otto @dalzotto.wines, dear departed John Reid from @redbeardhistoricbakery, @joostbakker and Trailblazer @chae_melbourne. When we can, let's actually party!

Get the lowdown and watch my interview via link in bio.

Spring! This is the Spring Pea Danish, a seasonal spesh at @lunecroissant: goat curd, smashed peas and broad beans, salsa verde tumble. Fitzroy only. 😍😍😍 ...

Hope St Radio review in today's Sunday Age and in my stories.

If food was a hug, Ellie Bouhadana’s would be an archetypal mama embrace that holds you at arm’s length to appreciate you, pulls you in for a huge squeeze, then steps back again to check you’re really this beautiful. The focaccia is worth 100 cuddles: tall and pillowy with a crisp golden crust, it’s all oil, salt, lift and love. Sweet, zingy sardines are from Port Phillip Bay’s last remaining net fishery (we need to save it, be part of my campaign). They’re butterflied, herbed and vinegared, and served with bright slashes of roasted pepper.

More in my stories, including about the sardine campaign.


#localfood #melbournefoodie #melbournerestaurant #melbournerestaurants #sardines

Pan-roasted some tomatoes with 'nduja and it is better than good. ...

Tomorrow's Sunday Age review is @hopestradio. Connection & community, oysters & pet nat ❤️ ...

Cook With Me. Join Today.

I want you to cook with confidence and joy and banish the what's-for-dinner blahs.

Members have immediate access to my complete recipe and video library, plus access to new content each week. Join for Thermomix recipes (and lots of others!), tips, info and behind-the-scenes access to some of the world’s best chefs.

Really? Yep! See what members say. Wondering what you’ll get? See what’s in the library and check out the free videos to get a taste.

  • Monthly Membership

    $29.00 / month
    Subscribe Details
  • 3 Month Membership

    $69.00 every 3 months
    Subscribe Details
  • Annual Membership

    $197.00 / year
    Subscribe Details
© Dani Valent 2021