Pizza Throwdown: Old School vs. New School for local charity Bracken’s Kitchen

Photo Jan 18, 9 43 22 PM

It started as a joke amongst friends but has quickly turned into a battle between several high-profile Orange County chefs for a serious cause. New School vs. Old School in a Pizza Throwdown, Sunday, Jan. 29, to raise money for Bracken’s Kitchen, a local food truck that provides FREE meals to those in need.

The competition features Master Baker Dean Kim and Master Pizza Maker Sandro Nardone vs. Brent Omeste and Chad Urata of Centro Collective in Lake Forest (who have some killer Italian food experience of their own). Plus a whole bunch of other great OC chefs have picked sides and are preparing for battle.

What’s at stake? Pride, mostly. And hair, possibly. Dean Kim refuses to lose, he says. Chad and Brent plan to make him eat their pizza, and then his words. Rumor has it, the losing chefs will get their heads shaved. The shaving kit is in Dean’s office, but who knows if it will come out!

Members of the public can purchase tickets to vote in the Throwdown, or simply eat pizza in the parking lot.

Date & Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29 at Orange County Baking Company, 1960 N. Glassell Street, Orange, CA 92865

Cost: $50 VIP-$20 General Admission (online); $5 for pizza in the parking lot (cash donation)

Ticket Purchases:

Click here for more info and a great story by Nancy Luna of the Orange County Register.

This Chocolate Chip Muffin, for President


If there’s one platform I can truly get behind this election season, it’s that we should support our local businesses.

If we’re talking donut shops in Orange County, my favorites are all over: Cream Pan in Tustin (cake donuts, bagettes, strawberry croissants); Surfin’ Donuts (multiple South County locations; get the Tiger’s tail); Sidecar Doughnuts in Costa Mesa (everything); and my favorite family-run shop: Michael’s Coffee House across the street from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest/Foothill Ranch.

I hate to say I don’t know the name of the family that runs the place, but they’re always so slammed when I’m in there, I’ve never had much of a conversation with them. What I can tell you is to order any of their customizable sandwiches on a huge, buttery croissant; the blueberry donut is my wife’s favorite, and THEY MAKE THE GREATEST CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN OF ALL TIME.


It’s all about the ratios. Lets talk about that muffin top—the good kind. In this case, the best kind.

It’s like a flying saucer landed on a wax-paper-wrapped pedestal for all to gawk in awe at. Because it’s so huge and cooks over on the pans, the perimeter of the top tastes more like a muffin version of Chewy Chips Ahoy! The inside of the top and the bottom of the muffin are perfectly soft and fluffy, and not overly sweet. Large chocolate chips stud the top and float around in abundance within, too.

It’s hard to tell someone to go driving for a chocolate chip muffin, but that’s exactly what I’m saying you should do. Take the toll road to save time if you must, (Bake off the 5, cutting across Rancho will do it too), but this is one decision you won’t soon regret.

Michael’s Coffee House
29200 Portola Parkway
Lake Forest, Ca 92630