Award-winning vegan chef claims BLT Steakhouse owner is harassing her: suit

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An award-winning vegan chef has legal beef with a former partner whom she claims is trying to bully her out of the meatless hamburger business.

Chloe Coscarelli, who in 2010 became the first vegan chef to take top prize in “Cupcake Wars,” claims in a lawsuit that BLT Steakhouse chain owner James Haber, whom she had a falling out with over the meatless burger chain By Chloe, has been harassing her over the new vegan burger joint Supernatural that opened up this week with star chef Tom Colicchio.

According to her suit, Haber unleashed its lawyers on Coscarelli one day after Supernatural launched, serving a “threat letter” to her claiming that she is infringing on their copyright because the company has the sole right to run a vegan eatery with Coscarelli’s name, face or likeness.

“Their basic claim is that Chloe cannot be a chef and use her own name,” said Ronald Schutz, an attorney representing Coscarelli and Colicchio in the suit.

But a spokeswoman for By Chloe said that the Coscarelli’s new restaurant features branding that smacked of old partnership.

“In the interest of both parties’ customer experience, we sent a letter asking them to change or remove the specific similarities in the branding to avoid any further misunderstanding,” the statement reads. “As a champion in an inclusive plant-based movement, we want to ensure there’s no confusion between By Chloe. and other plant-based brands.”

Coscarelli’s new lawsuit is just latest culinary court clash she’s had with Haber since they had a falling out over the By Chloe chain. She also filed suit in state civil court in Manhattan in which she alleges that when she demanded Haber not use her name on the restaurants, he told her “she would need a bodyguard if she dared to meet with him in person.”

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