Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood announces <br> ‘Panini-Off’ winner


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There’s nothing like rain and freakish tornado warnings to remind a person of how yummy a good sandwich can be. So it’s fitting that Coral Tree Cafe’s ‘Panini-Off’ finals concluded last night with 22-year-old Chloe Coscarelli (a student at the Natural Gourmet Institute) crowned winner for her Mango Masala Panini made with spiced chickpea masala, roasted cauliflower curry and tamarind mango chutney.

Contestants were whittled down based on the following criteria: taste, visual presentation, creativity and ‘panini practicality’ (was the panini easy to eat?). Entrants were instructed to use recipes that didn’t resemble the paninis that Coral Tree Cafe already serves. Coscarelli received a $250 gift certificate to Coral Tree and her panini was added to the menu.


The finalists, and their paninis, were: Tsz Chan, Temple City (Holiday Ham Panini); Chloe Coscarelli, Los Angeles (Mango Masala Panini); Cecilia Fabulich, Marina del Rey (Shanghai Spice Pork Loin Panini); Michael Haddad, Burbank (Gruyere and Chive Oil Panini); and Nico Juber, Los Angeles (the mysteriously named Nico’s Perfect Panini). Juber won the ‘People’s Choice’ award.

During the event, contestants prepared their paninis in front of a panel of judges, including Coral Tree co-founder Robert Niksefat; senior editor of CitySearch Los Angeles, Mar Yvette;’s Joshua Lurie; co-editor Lindsay William-Ross; and Richard Klein, founder of Chefmakers Cooking Academy.

About 100 people showed up to watch the fun, and also to buy snacks and drinks because 10% of the night’s proceeds benefited the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund, which helps family members of firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty. All told, $700 was raised for that worthy cause.

-- Jessica Gelt