If you took advantage of the weekend to relax and keep up with the news on streaming platforms, you must have found “From the Queen of the Vegetarian to the Outlaw”, The documentary that premiered on Netflix last week tells the story of the entrepreneur sarma melangalis, which fell in a coup and went bankrupt. The work is directed by Chris Smith, who is also responsible for producing “Tiger Mafia” and “Fair Festival: Fiasco in the Caribbean”.
She became famous after starting a relationship with Chef Matthew Kenney. Together, they began promoting a healthy lifestyle through a vegetarian diet. They opened the restaurant in partnership pure food and wine, in 2004, in New York. At the time, the diet was not as widespread as it is today, and yet, the duo managed to create a very successful establishment, highlighting the cuisine and raw food movements.
Before taking up gastronomy, Melangalis earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. She had come to this area to work for banks and investment funds, such as Bear Stearns, Bain Capital and CIBC, but her passion was cooking. With Kenny, she was gaining a place in New York’s food scene and they even released a book together.
However, the partnership between the couple did not last as long as the relationship had, and Melangalis took over Kenny’s part, taking on US$2 million (R$9.9 million) in debt to become the head of the business. From Hollywood stars like Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway and Owen Wilson to music icon Stevie Wonder, to politics through the pairing of Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady, it wasn’t hard to find celebrities roaming the Pure Food and Wine Hall. As former US President Bill Clinton. In the documentary, a former manager claims that the restaurant serves more than 200 dishes a night, with an annual income of US$7 million (R$34.7 million).
With the success, the entrepreneur opened three juice stores called One Lucky Duck, as well as a line of healthy snacks of the same name, sold online and at the Whole Foods supermarket chain.
It wasn’t love, it was a trap
The fall came when she met Anthony Strongis on Twitter. The virtual flirtation soon turned into a serious relationship. He promised her enough money to become independent of the restaurant’s investors, get out of debt, and expand the business. That alone was enough to brighten the entrepreneur’s eyes, but she clinging to one more detail: Strangis sold the idea that he might allow his pitbull Leon to live an eternity.
For that, he would have to pass a number of tests, including transferring a significant amount of money to his accounts. Believing this, he transferred over $1.6 million from Pure Food and Wine accounts to his personal account and then to Strongis’ account. He also managed to trick his mother, who transferred him about US$500,000. While all the money was wasted by scammers in casinos, there was bleeding in restaurants in New York. The employees didn’t know what else to do without the owner’s presence and anyone who dared to question what was really happening was fired.
In total, he embezzled US$6 million (R$29.7 million) between loans with investors, loans from the entrepreneur’s mother and friends, in addition to past salaries of the establishment’s employees.
After ten months of running, the couple were found after Strongis ordered a pizza from Domino’s. Melangalis had become a joke in the tabloids that she was caught for exactly what she was campaigning so much against. He pleaded guilty, and the entrepreneur spent four months in prison in 2017.
How is she currently?
Pure Food & Wine closed permanently in July 2015 due to lack of resources. Despite saying in the documentary that her dream is to be able to reopen the establishment — in her Instagram bio, she wrote that she is mourning the end of the restaurant and One Lucky Duck — the entrepreneur says she doesn’t have any There is no way to ask. anything else..
After three years went by without publishing it on her website called Sarma Raw, she wrote a text about the Netflix documentary to clarify that the money she received for the interview and the material provided for the production was used for debts owed to her. was made to pay. 84. Ex-employee.