The release of the Netflix documentary series, Bad veganShe has many questions about the whole truth of the vegan restaurateur Sarma Melngailis’ Roller coaster history in the food industry. In solving crimes committed at her ex-husband’s side Anthony Strangis, Bad vegan is a behind-the-scenes look at how a supposedly wholesome foodie brand became embroiled in a scandal.
Melngailis employees went without a paycheck for months, unsure of what was happening on the other end. In a chaotic finger-pointing game, the dust has finally settled for everyone from Pure Food & Wine to get on with it. The current whereabouts of the cast have emerged from a Netflix follow-up interview and via social media Bad vegan all seem to be going up.
Bad vegan may have been Melngaili’s platform to flesh out the details of her crime. However, viewers and critics have struggled to vent their disbelief in her lingering forgetfulness given her academic and street-wise record.
In 2017, Melngailis struck a plea deal and pleaded guilty to theft, tax fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud and served four months at Rikers Island. Since her release, she has actively shared her story in the media to clear her name. The Melngailis ex-workers have since been compensated with money raised from their media appearances.
During an interview with the New York Post, the raw food enthusiast hinted at potentially opening another restaurant, saying, “If there was a magical opportunity to open the same restaurant in the same place, I would do it in a heartbeat. I think New York would take me back.” Melngailis still lives in New York and spends most of her time in her Harlem apartment reading and walking her dog Leon. With plans in the media, she has the release of an upcoming Podcasts noted and maintains the details of her life on her blog Sarma Raw.
Possibly the most elusive and compelling character in Melngailis’ history, Anthony Strangis, does not appear on screen except in archival footage. He has chosen not to take part in the documentaries and has completely distanced himself from the entire ordeal. The release of just a single statement to E! Messages via a lawyer, Strangis explained that “he’s getting on with his life … He’s got a job, he’s using his name, that’s behind him, and she’s behind him.”
In a blog post uploaded shortly after Bad vegan, Melngailis has cleared the air regarding any communication with Strangis since publication. She said: “The ending of Bad Vegan is disturbingly misleading; I’m not in touch with Anthony Strangis and I did this recording at a much earlier point in time.”
As the initial financial backbone of Pure Food & Wine, Jeffrey Chodorov played a significant role as a gateway to Melngailis entrepreneurship. With a long career spanning roles as restaurateur, lawyer and financier, Khodorov continues his entrepreneurial adventures to this day.
Khodorov is expanding his restaurant-owning ventures to Miami, where his company has rented a space at the Bal Harbor Shops. He told the local Miami newspaper The Trade Observer: “This will be one of my classics.” He currently lives in Miami with his family. His two sons, Zach and Max, also have careers in the food and restaurant industries.
Nazim Zelyakhov was one of Strangis’ earliest victims, having invested almost $100,000 directly in him and being his rumored business partner. Given the chaotic work environment at Pure Food & Wine, it’s understandable that he joins Melngailis in exposing Strangis’ behavior.
Following the Pure Food & Wine foreclosure, Seliakhov resumed his role as Operations Manager at Viridium Distribution, a cannabis marketing agency, from mid-2017 to early 2018. He currently resides in New York City and has embraced his entrepreneurial side as the founder of a pharmaceutical-grade industrial hemp processing laboratory. Seliakhov remains private online, his only public social media profile being his LinkedIn.
Anthony Caruanas The close friendship with Melngailis was one of the more positive components of Bad vegan, with wholesome anecdotes and mutual praise for one another. Melngailis often helped with Caruana’s living situation by inviting him to dine at Pure Food & Wine and storing his belongings at her apartment as the seasons changed.
The current status of their friendship is unknown, with the latest updates from Caruana’s Facebook being last noted in 2016. He is very active online and often posts on his Instagram and YouTube channels. He has disclosed in these posts that he resides with his belongings in his car on Park Avenue in southern New York.
One of the first employees to spot discrepancies in how Pure Food & Wine works, the former manager sees her time there as a lesson in practicing empathy.
Bonnie Crocker has since moved to Venice, California, where she works as a funeral coordinator, grief counselor, and grief counselor. She has been working with her community for six years and also helps with emergency relief meetings. Crocker describes her current work as a sense of completion from “much loss” as she “never had a funeral or memorial for Pure”. Reflecting on her time in hospitality, Crocker explains that her experience was a catalyst to her current position.
After working with Melngailis at two of her facilities, Nick Ross described his time in hospitality as frustrating but very rewarding. Ross notes that the greatest learnings from his experience have been his learned skills, namely taking constructive criticism and navigating high-end networks.
After Pure Food & Wine, Ross endured an eight-month battle with cancer. He’s now pursuing a different path, having relocated to Denver, Colorado to pursue writing, video production and storytelling. Ross is Senior Video Design Manager at Brandfolder. He has earned multiple brand partnerships, sponsorships and more than 100 million views through his work with CBS, Fox Sports, BuzzFeed, Refinery29 and People Magazine. Privately he is working on a web series in collaboration with The Moth, NYC.
Jim Schweizer credits his interest in sustainability from food sourcing and various back-of-house operations at Pure Food & Wine. Since retiring, he has continued to work in operations, with experience as Director of Operations at Blackwood Hospitality and Senior Operations Specialist at restaurant concept firm Pen to Plate.
Switzer currently resides in Rosendale, New York and has been enrolled online for a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies/Sustainability at Oregon State University since September 2020. He continues to work in the restaurant industry and is currently a baker, but is open to whatever the future may be, stating he will “see what happens after that”.
As Beverage Director of Pure Food & Wine, Joey Repic handcrafted menus and drink pairings for the restaurant. Since then, he has continued to venture into his culinary skills, launching his brand of hot sauces.
As a fresh start, Repice has moved west and honed his talents at several Los Angeles restaurants. Repice considers his time at Pure Food & Wine as incredible as the place where he met his wife Lisa, with whom he lives in Ashland, Oregon. The launch of his Joey’s Hot Sauce brand is dedicated to her love of spices and hot foods. Adding to his achievements, Repice revealed on a podcast with The Drunkalogues that he’s been sober for 16 years.
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https://collider.com/bad-vegan-where-sarma-anthony-and-others-now/ Where are Sarma, Anthony and the others now?