Dani Valent – Writer. Eater. Traveller. Cook.


Romantic Montage

Food is Love

Valentine’s Day is just one day a year but any day is a good day for romance. I’ve gathered together some of my favourite seductive, saucy, huggable dishes for delicious wooing and canoodling



Food Chat – Butcher Gary McBean Talks Pork

Master butcher Gary McBean helps us get a fork around pork in this informative ‘meat chat’. Learn what to do which which part of the pig and how to get the best crackling


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OS Workers Resources

This page is to assist overseas workers in Australia on working visas who have lost jobs or reduced hours due to COVID-19. I am a food writer who cares about your plight. I am not qualified to give you legal advice. Please use this page as a starting place. I can take no responsibility for your actions or the consequences that may arise from them. I wish you all the best and I want you to know that many people care about your situation!


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Perky Kohlrabi Salad

During lockdown, when I was shopping for my parents, they always put kohlrabi on their shopping list. This tart, earthy yet slightly sweet member of the cabbage family isn’t a vegetable I often bought, but I started getting one for them and one for me, gaining a new appreciation for it along the way.

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Like-minded chefs @harry.mangat and @simonewatts_chef at the @bijidining X @barragunda collab at @avaniwines yesterday. Highly refined and considered Indian flavours and techniques married with exceptional Mornington Peninsula produce. Chefs to watch 👀 More in my story / highlight. ...

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Taiyaki at @izakayaden2029. In Japan, these fish-shaped cakes are usually filled with red bean paste. Here chef @jarrod.diblasi turns them into an ice cream sandwich with Davidson plum.

After an eight-month closure, Izakaya Den reopened in December with 2029 appended to its name. The numerals suggest optimistic rebirth plus a nod to Blade Runner 2049. Snacky Den classics like battered sweet corn sit on an ‘homage’ list but the core offering is an $80 menu, booked and prepaid. This structure isn’t typical for an izakaya but it makes excellent business sense in a rebuilding CBD.

The food shows the attention to detail of di Blasi’s cooking at Ezard, where he was head chef, but it’s stripped back. Instead of 10 elements, there might be two, and the impression is of depth rather than breadth.

More in my highlights & at @goodfoodau.

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❤️🌞 Going camping // back Jan 16 🌊🏕️ Stay safe, wonderful people. ...

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Not exactly the December 31 post I would have preferred but there you go... bloody virus!

- 6 new cases in Melbourne (3 yesterday, 3 overnight who are linked)
- @smilebuffalothai cafe in Black Rock seems to be the common link between the 3 cases, and there's a link to a NSW case at that premises. If you were there on December 21, you must get tested & isolate for 14 days. Vic gov has thanked this cafe for cooperation and great record-keeping 🙏
- 😷✅ masks are mandatory indoors from 5pm tonight, other than in your home.
- private gatherings reduced from 30 to 15.
- only people with bookings at restaurants should come into the city tonight.
- anyone who's been in Wollongong or Blue Mountains must apply for permit on Services Vic site and be back before midnight tonight. Border arrangements may change with short notice. Best for any Victorians to return from regional NSW and do not go to NSW now.
- Keep an eye on DHHS exposure sites. @mochajos in Glen Waverley and @__katialo__ in Oakleigh are among them. Link in bio.
- Contact collection is so important! Businesses must collect details, customers must leave details.


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Wish I hadn't chosen this week to visit Sydney and now I can't wait to get home. Bloody virus.

On the other hand, it was so nice to sit at the bar at @continentaldeli for a Mar-tinny with three olives and a twist. Thanks @the_sarah_k for being my Sydney sleepover pal ❣️

I've made a spectacle of myself by wearing a mask up here and I haven't been near the northern beaches!

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YES. What a day, what a story! Chef @vignaliandre has keys to his new shop - and his new life in Melbourne. Al Dente will open soon on Nicholson Street, Carlton and this new business owner is so happy, he just spent two hours cleaning the coolroom. 😅

Andrea has had a crazy year. He was on a sponsored visa at @grossiflorentino at the start of the pandemic. As a temporary worker, the Federal government excluded him from support, even though he was here legally, paying taxes for five years, and going back to the north of Italy, ravaged by COVID, was not an option.

Andrea is great at cooking but not a specialist in sitting still, nor at living on no money, so he started making gnocchi and selling it on Instagram. He was then assisted by @cookaborough @coopersinnmelbourne (& others) to turn his pasta side hustle into a killer little business. In fact, it was so successful that Andrea was able to employ half a dozen other visa holders, and ride out both lockdowns in Melbourne - not without some big stumbling blocks and pauses and panics but he bloody did it!

Now he's making Al Dente a bricks-and-mortar operation with his best mate @davidzuma92_ - initially the new place will just be a delivery base and store but they'll start doing dine-in service in the new year. Andrea is now awaiting a partner visa with his girlfriend Michelle and hopefully his status here will soon be secure. We are lucky to have him.

2020, you're a tricksy monster, but at least there's this guy holding these keys ❣️

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Tomato, strawberry, elderflower, chilli. A summer stunner @hughsallen @vuedemonde. ...

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CIAO ELENA! Hearing the specials recited at @caterinascucinaebar is a thrilling, ensconcing sign that Melbourne is coming back to life.

I had a heart-filling lunch with my mum and dad in Caterina's city basement today and I was so happy to find the room full for two lunch sittings. Good on you, Melbourne, you ace bunch of restaurant lovers ❣️

The food was excellent - baccala and fried parsley on toast, gnocchi with white truffle, goat with polenta! - but it was the simple, profound fact of being there that really filled my cup. I didn't realise how much I missed the sound of other people's conversations, the hubbub that creates a cosy blanket of togetherness in a dining room, that deep sense of being looked after. Those are the specials that you can't recite but - because we are so, so lucky - we can live them.

This year has been unthinkably hard for hospitality people like Elena and the extraordinary Caterina. But here we are...masks off, glasses raised, hearts and bellies full. I feel so grateful.

🙏 @eletriky @cellothebestchef

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From tomorrow...

- seated service no longer a requirement - can stand at a bar! 🤗🍺
- no number limits 😊
- 1 person per 2 sq m indoors and outdoors ❣️
- electronic contact collection a must 📱
- very small venues allowed to have 25 patrons before density limit applies - laneway cafes & bars are back baby! ☕🍹
- masks no longer mandatory in restaurants! 😷💗 Everyone must carry a mask and wear in dept stores, supermarkets, indoor markets, public & private transport eg Uber and taxi. Masks are recommended but not mandatory in other settings when distancing can't be achieved. 📏
- 50 people allowed on a dance floor!
- not sure about distance between tables - not mentioned as yet.

We are so lucky!! We have done so well!!

Leave your details!
Get tested if you have symptoms! #staysafestayopen 💗

If you book, turn up & spend!
#noshowsgetinthebin 🙏

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Luleå pizza at @greathakka, a Chinese-Indian-Swedish restaurant in Mount Waverley.

Swedish pizza is fascinating. Toppings include kebab meat, fefferoni (pickled green chilli) and creamy dressings. Pickled cabbage is the compulsory side.

Here, Swedish pizza gets a further Indian spin. The Luleå stars thin slices of spice-marinated beef, interspersed with fefferoni and swirled with zingy sauce. Once I shrugged off my Napoli-bound Stockholm syndrome, I settled into how tasty it is.

More in my story & link to my review in bio.

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© Dani Valent 2021