(Spoilers for Netflix’s Bad Vegan will be found below.)
Bad Vegan subject Sarma Melngailis ruined her successful celebrity restauranteur career for one of the worst reasons imaginable. She fell from grace and ended up as a fugitive of the law after falling in with a very bad man, Anthony Strangis (who used the pseudonym of “Shane Fox”). He convinced her (and Sarma is very upset that the series is marketing with this hook) that he was some superpowered, black-ops agent who had the power to make her dog immortal, if only she’d prove herself by meeting conditions, including constantly giving him vast sums of money.
On paper, that’s nuts, but Sarma did his bidding, and soon enough, the two were on the run after her restaurants closed — because she stopped paying her employees and jilted investors and so on — while she funneled nearly $2 million to Strangis, who she married. Despite all of this, Sarma (and she alludes to this during the series) wouldn’t mind returning to her former glory (NYC’s Pure Food and Wine was frequented by celebrities including not only Alec Baldwin but also Woody Harrelson and Jason Lewis, as shown above ^^^). And she’s got an unlikely supporter who thinks she should move forward with that goal. It ain’t Alec or Woody saying this, but the other dude in this photo.
That would be Matthew Kenney, Sarma’s ex-business partner (and ex-lover), with whom she actually opened Pure Food and Wine (before going on to open One Lucky Duck) in 2004. When they split, an investor (Jeffrey Chodorow) made the call to boot Matthew and keep Sarma as the business’ owner, and even after everything that’s transpired, TMZ reports that Matthew is all for Sarma trying to reboot with a different restaurant. Here’s TMZ’s lowdown:
[A] rep for Matthew tells TMZ … he believes in second chances and wishes Sarma the best. If opening another restaurant is what she wants, he thinks she should pursue it.
Matthew hasn’t seen the new series yet, despite being featured on it — but it doesn’t appear there’s any bad blood between Sarma and her ex.
We’re told Matthew spoke to her a few years ago, and actually wrote a letter in support of her.
Well, Matthew might wanna go ahead and fire up Bad Vegan (it’s only four episodes, a quick-ish binge) and see if he still feels the same way after all is said and done. The show’s racked up a staggering amount of hours from viewers, despite what Sarma calls a “misleading” ending. She has also insisted that all of her Netflix dollars went towards paying back her jilted employees. Can she get any investors to reboot with her, though? Seems unlikely, but you never freaking know.