For the record, Max Brenner — whose sweets emporium boasts “chocolate by the bald man” — is not a real person. But Katzie Guy-Hamilton is. She’s the one coming up with the ooey-gooey deliciousness you’ve likely indulged in at Max Brenner. After a stint in NYC’s Grand Hyatt, Guy-Hamilton became the brand’s first-ever Director of Food & Beverage, playing the role of that mythical bald man since January.
Sweet job — how’d you land it?
Max Brenner historically has always been a little off-center. They love chocolate and the company has a lot of fun. I would say that I like to think of desserts and sweets in the same way, where I want to have fun with what I do. I don’t want to call myself a little off center, but the reality is, I am. (Laughs)
What menu items are you most excited about these days?
Something that we just launched we call the crepe pasta. It encourages you to play with a crepe in a different way. It’s a crepe with our melted chocolate, cold chocolate ganache and different fruits. There’s a lot of texture and fun going on. At the end of the day it resembles pasta but it’s delicious like dessert. We try and not be kitschy per se, we want you to just have fun. Another that I absolutely adore and I grew up with is fried dough. It’s not zeppole, it’s not funnel cake, but it’s literally dough doused in chocolate, drizzled with toffee and filled with ice cream. You have to share it with people. That’s kind of where my mind goes — where it’s not neat and clean and I really want you to lick your fingers.
What about savory foods?
We do have four chocolate bar restaurants and we’re growing … but we understand that people want to eat as well. Do you put chocolate on everything that you make or do you separate it? That’s a question we constantly ask ourselves. … Not everything that’s on the savory side has to have chocolate, [but] it always points to it. That’s the angle to which I try to stick. You don’t want to force chocolate on everything if it truly doesn’t belong. Our burger is so delicious and I don’t feel that it needs chocolate, but I can’t wait to have chocolate after I eat it. That’s kind of the way I feel.
What’s an easy chocolate dish that home cooks can make?
It helps when you’re making dessert or a treat for yourself to have a really great ganache in your fridge. For the easiest chocolate mousse in the world, start by making ganache. Use equal parts chocolate and heavy cream. Heat the cream, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and stir together. Allow the ganache to come to room temperature.Then, fold in barely whipped cream that has a tablespoon (or two) of brandy. If you start stirring the ganache cream mixture with a whisk, you will tighten the mixture and incorporate more air. Pour it into a bowl and chill before serving. It’s a perfect mousse that you can add berries to.