Best of Boston

1999 Best Kitchen Grinch

Lotfi Saibi, Mediterraneo Bistro

Is it okay to pocket a profit on a charity dinner that never happens? Mediterraneo Bistro’s chef/owner Lotfi Saibi apparently thinks so. When low ticket sales forced the cancellation of an event planned by Canton businessman Jay Essa to buy new wheelchairs for disabled children, Saibi said he should be able to keep the deposit, since he’d arranged to close the restaurant—albeit on a Monday night, and with two weeks’ notice of the cancellation. When pressed to at least give the deposit to charity, he coughed up $500—out of $3,600. After all the grief, Saibi held his own fundraisers for the school. Tickets sold for $85 and Saibi donated $55 from each one sold. In addition, he wrote a personal check for $1,100 to the Massachusetts Hospital School.