Welcome to the next installment of Sonesta Chefs at Home series! We’ve all been spending more time at home these past few months, including our executive chefs, but that doesn’t mean the cooking, creating, and enjoyment of food has stopped! We’ve put our chefs to the test and have asked them to share what they are making at home.

Today we welcome Robert Graham, Executive Chef at Royal Sonesta Houston, to share a delicious and unique duck recipe. Watch below and read on to hear from Chef Robert and to learn about what his family is cooking up at home while engaging in some friendly competition.

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Cocoa Puff Dusted Duck Breast/Parsnip Puree/Charred Broccolini/Salsa Roja/Salsa Verde (Serves 4)


4 duck breasts
1/8 cup coco puffs smashed to a powder
1 orange zested
1 tbsp Chinese five spice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 orange segmented for garnish
4 sprigs cilantro for garnish

For the parsnips

4 each large parsnips peeled and cut into large dice
2 cups milk
4 oz butter

For the broccolini

1 large bunch broccolini cut into smaller pieces
1 lemon zested
2 tbsp olive oil

For the salsa roja

10 guajillo chilies seeded
1 large yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
1 tbsp whole cumin toasted
1 small can tomato paste
½ cup grand Marnier

For the salsa verde

8 tomatillos peeled and quartered
4 poblanos seeded and rough chopped
2 bunched scallions rough chopped
2 large bunches cilantro rough chopped
1 cup pepitas toasted


Marinate the duck breast with the orange zest, Chinese five spice and olive oil for 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper and place in a pan over low heat skin side down and cook for about 15 minutes to render off some fat and crisp up the skin. When ready to serve, place the duck in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked to medium (about 130-140 degrees). Sprinkle duck with the cocoa puff powder. Let rest and then slice to serve.

For the salsa roja, toast the chilies until charred. Do the same for the onions, garlic and cumin. Soak the chilies in warm water for about 20 minutes until soft. Blend all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.


For the salsa verde, cook all of the ingredients in salted boiling water for 1 minute and then place in an ice bath and cool completely. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



For the parsnip puree. Combine parsnips and milk in a medium pot and simmer until tender. About 20 minutes. Place in a blender with butter and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

For the broccolini. Toss the broccolini with the lemon zest, olive oil and salt and pepper. Broil under high heat until charred. Keep warm until ready to serve.


Place some of each sauce on the plate. Spoon a small amount of the parsnip puree on the sauce. Top with the duck and then broccolini.  Garnish with some cilantro and orange segments. Enjoy.


Read more in our Chefs at Home series:

Get some delicious summer recipes and learn about Chef Mark Kapolnek from Royal Sonesta Chicago Riverfront.

Chef Mark Kapolnek, Royal Sonesta Chicago Riverfront.

Chef Kevin Baker, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

Chef Jason Routzahn, Royal Sonesta New Orleans

Chef Kevin Davis, Sonesta Gwinnett Place Atlanta

Chef Matt Porter, Sonesta Suites Scottsdale

Chef Brian Dandro, Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island/Royal Sonesta Boston

Chef Patrick Newman, Sonesta Bee Cave Austin

Chef Gunter Weber, The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta St. Louis