Johnny Fogg/ EH Management
2 servings

Misha Nonoo is leaning against a stainless-steel table in the kitchen of Chinese Tuxedo, N.Y.C.’s buzzy Chinatown restaurant. Over the past year the hot spot has drawn celebrities like Ansel Elgort, Sophie Turner, and Joe Jonas as much for its spirited cuisine and movie-set-worthy dining room as for its signature superfood cocktails, which are served in a subterranean bar set off by Gucci Décor’s Tiger Face wallpaper.  

Nonoo looks very much at home, prepping ingredients for the haunt’s popular roast duck entrée with executive chef Paul Donnelly. “I find it soothing to cook,” she says. “When you’re working with your hands, you can’t get distracted.” Donnelly, a rising culinary star from Scotland who’s worked in high-pressure kitchens from Glasgow to Sydney, laughs. “You should come and spend a Friday night with us,” he says. When the dining room is full, his kitchen hums like backstage at a fashion show. 

Johnny Fogg/ EH Management

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Nonoo, an enthusiastic home cook, is here for a lesson, and Donnelly is impressed by her skills. “As long as I have a recipe, I’ll try anything,” she says, adding that she’s built her repertoire of French and British classics like cassoulet, shepherd’s pie, and roast chicken by watching her mother in the kitchen when she was growing up in Bahrain. “My mom was also quite adventurous,” Nonoo says. “She took cooking classes on everything from Thai to Indian to Chinese food.” Nonoo fondly remembers trying these new dishes at dinner. “[My parents and I] always ate meals together,” she says.  

Bonding over food was important for the Donnelly clan too. “We didn’t go out to fancy restaurants when I was a kid,” he says. “Instead, we would cook at home. We’d make things like roast chicken with gravy and Yorkshire pudding. My grandmother would do a huge spread — a ham, a turkey, a roast beef — at her house, and everybody would bring a side.”

Back in the kitchen today, the two discover that they share an intrepid globe-trotting spirit, but their approach to workwear couldn’t be more different. Donnelly sports a slim, custom-made short-sleeve chef shirt by Tilit with skinny black jeans, while Nonoo wears a cherry red cashmere sweater (available here for $225) and a geometric-patterned pleated skirt (available here for $250) by her namesake brand. Sans apron, she starts tossing some Chinese celery and basil with a tangy, umami-packed plum dressing — food stains be damned. Donnelly then begins braising the duck breast that will top the luscious greens. He says he’s happy to focus on fusion cuisine — his sweet-and-sour steak tartare on crab crackers is a critics’ favorite — and leave fashion to the pros. “But I don’t just throw something on in the morning,” he insists. “I like to look at my clothes to make sure it’s all coordinated. I think you get judged on what you wear in New York.” 

Johnny Fogg/ EH Management

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Donnelly sets the duck aside to “rest” (chefspeak for letting meat sit after it’s been cooked), and then slices through it like butter with his etched Japanese knife. “We’ll toss everything, and it will be sweet, a little salty, a little acidic, and bright.” His student applies the finishing touches. 

“I love the way chefs can just seemingly throw something together,” Nonoo says while drizzling dressing over the dish. “They’re never timid. They’re like, ‘Just try it. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.’ ”

Like putting together an outfit, no? Not quite, says Nonoo. “Sometimes you should be fearful!” she jokes. “Things can go terribly wrong, just as they can in the kitchen. But with practice you get better.”

Photographed by Johnny Fogg. Styling: Stephanie Perez-Gurri. Hair: Shinya Nakagawa. Makeup: Andrew Colvin.

For more stories like this, pick up the March issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Feb. 15. 

Johnny Fogg/ EH Management

Roast Duck with Chinese Celery, Lychees, Basil and Sweet Vinegar Dressing

How to Make It

1. Mix soy sauce, maltose, hoisin sauce, and oyster sauce in a bowl and set aside.
2. Trim off extra fat from duck breasts, flip the breasts skin-side down, and remove the silver skin and tenderloin.
3. Pour marinade over the breasts; refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 250°F.
5. Place duck on a foiled tray and cook for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven.
7. Gently heat up a little oil in a large, oven-safe frying pan and add the duck skin-side down. Allow the duck to get quite dark and caramelized.
8. Raise heat to 350°F and place duck in oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Remove from oven and allow 5 minutes to rest.
9. Slice duck and toss into a mixing bowl with all other ingredients. Lightly coat with dressing* and serve.  
*Duck Dressing 1/3 cup palm sugar (lightly chopped) 2 tablespoons plum sauce  2 tablespoons Chinkiang black vinegar  1 tablespoon white vinegar  1/3 cup Healthy Boy Brand thin soy sauce 1.  Place all ingredientsn into a small sauce pan on low heat. 2. Gently melt the palm sugar. 3. Once the sugar has completely melted, turn the heat up to high and allow to boil. 4. As soon as it has boiled, turn back down to a simmer and reduce for 10 minutes (some of the residual sugar may float to the top. You can skim this off using a small ladle and discard). 5. Set aside and allow to cool before refrigerating. 

Restaurant Source

Chinese Tuxedo

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