Interview and recipe

Eric Parker, the corporate executive chef at Duffy’s Sports Grill, has poured his culinary vision into the company’s menu for more than two decades. He is continually infusing the fare with inspiring flavors, soon to be exemplified in the spring menu’s insert items such as Orange Ginger Mahi, a Tuna Poke Stack, a Burrata Salad and Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos.

Q: How would you describe your culinary background?

A: I wanted to go to culinary school as a young kid but, at that time, it was not a cool thing to do living in Ohio. But I decided to move to Florida and I went to culinary school. Then I worked at a small French restaurant in Palm Beach and then a high-volume steakhouse. I met the guys who owned Duffy’s, interviewed with them, and said I wanted to get involved in developing a concept and recipes. I have been doing that ever since.

Q: Who and what have inspired you as a chef over the years?

A: My uncle, who owns a bakery in Ohio, inspired me. When I lived up there, we would go out to eat on Saturdays, it was a big deal on Saturday nights. We would go to The Brown Derby and other higher-end places in Ohio. And I always admired the food and service.

Q: What are a few things people may not know about Duffy’s?

A: People may not know about our attention to quality. We purchase certified Angus beef, fresh poultry and Cheshire pork out of North Carolina. I do not know if we get the credit for it but I sleep well at night knowing that what we put on the plate is of the best quality.

Q: What are some of your signature dishes and what makes them special?

A: We have a few lighter options for the spring menu, which rolls out next month. We have an Orange Ginger Mahi over stir-fried soba noodles with broccoli, red bell peppers and onion that is finished with pineapple salsa; a Tuna Poke Stack with pineapple salsa, mashed avocados, nori and sesame seeds; a Burrata Salad with local vine-ripened tomatoes, and a balsamic and fig dressing; and Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos with shredded cabbage, homemade pico de gallo and guacamole.

Q: What makes you want to do the work you do?

A: I wake up in the morning and I love to come to work. I am very fortunate. I work for a great family and family-run business. I am able to have my fingerprints on a lot of things. I am able to float ideas. There is not a day I wake up and do not enjoy going to work. I cannot wait to get to work. 



2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed

3/4 cup Gochujang paste

1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium)

1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup pure sesame oil

2 teaspoons ginger (fresh, finely grated)

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed


Place the ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly for 2 minutes. Refrigerate and serve.

Duffy’s Sports Grill is at 3005 University Parkway, Sarasota; 941-777-2110;