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A night of clean-enough food

Fifty-plus guests enjoyed a plant-based menu from Katzie Guy-Hamilton's new cookbook.

Food shouldn’t be fussy. That was the resounding message at a private event in New York City on Wednesday night, where more than 50 guests gathered for a globally inspired meal complete with Tunisian condiments, Persian eggplant, and seasonal British dessert served with tea from House of Waris Tea and Spice.

Katzie Guy-Hamilton, food and beverage director for Equinox, designed and crafted the menu entirely from Clean Enough, her new cookbook that pays homage to the back-to-basics approach to food. “The simplicity of eating real food is the foundation to anyone’s healthy diet,” she says. “[This event] promotes people coming together and eating clean food with interesting flavors from around the world.”

With dimmed lights, natural table decor, and bartenders at the ready, Guy-Hamilton kicked the meal off with a demo, showing the guests how to prepare harissa. The Tunisian condiment is made with cumin seed, coriander, turmeric, black garlic, red onion, and red pepper.

What followed was a night of food, drinks, conversation, and celebration. Here, a collection of highlights from the evening.

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  • “Good food is all about the flavors you pick up from traveling around the world,” Guy-Hamilton says. “You can use that to inspire anything from green beans to a fully composed meal." 

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  • Every dish on the plant-based (but notably not vegan) menu came from Guy-Hamilton’s cookbook, Clean Enough. “It was delicious food,” says Calliope Ligelis, a guest and member of E Madison Avenue in New York City. “This event went beyond anyone’s expectations.”
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  • Guy-Hamilton embraces Waris Ahluwalia, whose new brand House of Waris Tea and Spice is set to launch later this year.
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  • “Eat things that are close to the earth,” Guy-Hamilton says. Here, hazelnuts, pistachios, and made-from-scratch tabouli.
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  • You don’t need tons of salt to make food taste good, Guy-Hamilton says. “That’s what’s really cool about spices and fresh herbs. For me, it’s free flavor.”

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  • “Simple is always better when it comes to table decor,” Guy-Hamilton says. “Seasonally, there are so many colors available, so why not use a natural source for all of those colors?” Along with eucalyptus and candles, tables were topped with pomegranates, clementines, and rose petals, all of which made appearances on the menu.
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  • Guy-Hamilton demos her Tunisian harissa recipe. Her pro tip for roasting and peeling a red pepper: Char and blacken it on a gas stove or under the broiler, then place it in a glass bowl and cover it to lock in the moisture. After a few minutes, peel the outer layer off.
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  • Guy-Hamilton’s fresh blackened eggplant was garnished with mint and pomegranate seeds.
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  • With dessert, guests drank a signature turmeric-honey tea blend from House of Waris Tea and Spice.
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  • Guy-Hamilton breaks from breaking meringue to grate fresh turmeric over guests’ tea as they await dessert. “It’s just a little hit of fresh turmeric to make it pop a little more,” says Ahluwalia (right).
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  • Guy-Hamilton, a former pastry chef, folds together the dessert, playfully called the Hot Mess. “I like sugar-free truffles, avocado mousse—I’m willing to try anything,” she says. “But because I was trained using flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, I’m grateful to be able to share those flavors with other people.” The dish combines lemon curd, crème fraîche whipped cream, and meringue with seasonal clementines and grapefruit. 

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  • Each guest left with a signed copy of Clean Enough. The cookbook is available for purchase here.
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