Few things embody the warmth and giving spirit of Thanksgiving like sharing a meal. At Sonesta, our Food Is Art approach to cuisine embraces that same spirit every day. And this season, we’re sharing ideas and recipes to help you enjoy the day to its fullest.

Of course, spending time with family and friends over the holiday is also important. So Executive Chef Jeff Mattia of Royal Sonesta New Orleans is offering locals the best of both worlds: You can leave the cooking to him when you pick up a finely prepared “Turkey to Go,” complete with your choice of sides, packaged for take-out. It’s the perfect way to savor a sumptuous meal at home without missing the chance to catch up with loved ones. If you prefer an exemplary, relaxed meal served tableside, be sure to visit Restaurant R’evolution for Thanksgiving brunch. Or maybe your favorite meal is the one served the day after; if so, the Royal Sonesta Houston has a thoughtfully prepared plate of Thanksgiving leftovers for you, with our signature Food Is Art flair.

But for many, it’s the joy of cooking that brightens the holiday. So we’ve called on our Executive Chefs at both hotels to share a few of their favorite artful recipes that make use of – what else? – the ubiquitous cranberry.

Don your apron and enjoy!


Royal Sonesta Signature Granola Bars

Executive Pastry Chef Jacquelyn Lopez, Royal Sonesta New Orleans


  • 21 oz oats
  • 4 oz almonds
  • 8 oz pumpkin seeds
  • 1 oz sesame seeds
  • 18 oz honey
  • 6 oz brown sugar
  • 4 oz butter
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 8 oz dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Toast the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
  2. In a pot over medium heat bring the honey, brown sugar, butter and salt to a boil. Stir together and remove the mixture from the heat.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the toasted ingredients and cranberries. Pour the hot syrup mixture over it. Stir this with a rubber spatula until well combined.
  4. Spray or lightly oil a cookie sheet and spread the granola on to it in an even layer. With a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap press this mixture down as much and as evenly as you can. You can run a rolling pin over the top or use another sheet pan to help press it evenly.
  5. Bake this at 350F for no longer than seven minutes. It should not get any color. After, when it comes to room temperature, flip the large sheet of granola on to a cutting board, cut pieces of your desired size, and wrap each bar individually. Keep the bars wrapped tightly so humidity or dry climate does not affect them. Enjoy!


Fall Vegetable & Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Executive Chef Jeff Mattia, Royal Sonesta New Orleans

Demerara Sugar-Burnt Rosemary Vinaigrette:


  • 1½ tbsp demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp cane syrup
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 burnt rosemary sprigs
  • Preparation:
  1. Mix the sugar, cane syrup, vinegar together
  2. Slowly drizzle canola oil and extra virgin olive oil into the vinegar mixture
  3. Light the rosemary sprigs on fire and blow it out immediately, then place into vinaigrette.
  4. Toss the vinaigrette and let sit for 5 minutes or longer before removing sprigs depending on how strong of a flavor you prefer. Save the sprigs for garnish if you wish.


Fall Vegetable, Cranberry Quinoa Salad:


  • 1 Gala apple
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 8 broccoli stems, shaved
  • 2 broccoli floret, chopped
  • 8 brussel sprouts, shaved
  • 8-10 pc pecan halves, roasted
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • Demerara Sugar-Burnt Rosemary Vinaigrette (recipe above)


  1. Dice the apple into large pieces, toss in the Domino sugar.
  2. In a hot skillet with no oil, caramelize the apples quickly and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a bowl mix the quinoa, apples, and vegetables. Add the nuts and cranberries and mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  4. Add the Demerara Sugar-Burnt Rosemary Vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Garnish with Burnt Rosemary Sprig on top.


Duck Confit Tacos with Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa

Executive Chef Robert Graham, Royal Sonesta Houston


  • 4 duck legs
  • 8 flour tortillas

For the rub:

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp black pepper

For the preparation:

  • 4 cups duck fat
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp black peppercorns

For the Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa:

  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • ½ jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/8 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/8 cup roma tomato, diced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Sliced radish (optional)


  1. Combine the rub ingredients in a food processor and rub about a tablespoon of the mixture all over the duck legs. Let sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  2. Rinse the duck legs and place in a roasting pan. Cover with the duck fat and add the orange, lemon, thyme, garlic and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and then place in a 325F oven for about 3.5 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. When cool enough to handle, chop the duck meat into small pieces and keep warm.
  3. Prepare the Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa. Combine cranberries and sugar in a small pan and add just enough water to cover the berries. Cook over medium heat until most of the water is gone. Cool completely. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the tortillas over medium high heat until a bit charred. Remove from pan. Evenly distribute the duck confit among the tortillas and top with the salsa. You can garnish with sliced radish and cilantro. For a little crunch, fry the duck skin until crisp. Chop it up and add to the taco.


Royal Sonesta White Chocolate Cranberry Hazelnut Chocolate Bar

Executive Pastry Chef Jacquelyn Lopez, Royal Sonesta New Orleans


  • 1 oz dried cranberries
  • 1 oz roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 oz white chocolate croquant
  • 4 oz white chocolate couveture


In a food safe candy bar mold, evenly disperse the dried cranberries, roasted hazelnuts and white chocolate croquant. Pour the white chocolate couverture over the other ingredients in the mold and allow it to set without touching or stirring. Simply pop out and enjoy!