When Sarma Melngailis and Matthew Kenney co-founded Pure Food and Wine, they had something groundbreaking on their hands. Soon after it opened in 2004, the fine-dining vegan restaurant exploded in popularity.
However, after a decade in the industry, Sarma abruptly disappeared and was subsequently imprisoned for fraud. The restaurant’s stock collapsed as a result of a controversy over underpaid salaries.
So, if you’re curious in how much money the restaurant made and where it went, here’s what we know.
Recommended: Where is Sarma Melngailis Now?
What Was Sarma Melngailis’s Source of Income?
Sarma did not begin her working life in the food sector. In the 1990s, she earned an economics degree from the famed Wharton School in Pennsylvania.
Sarma realised that cooking was her actual passion after working for a couple of investment firms and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in New York, where she graduated in 1999.
Her friendship with chef Matthew Kenney, who was also her boyfriend at the time, led to the creation of the Commissary in 2001, some two years later.
Sarma and Matthew teamed up with investor Jeffrey Chodorow to open Pure Food and Wine in Manhattan, New York, in 2004, two years after that closed. The restaurant immediately gained a reputation for its vegan raw food menu and attracted celebrities such as actors, athletes, and supermodels.
In addition, with its distinctive high-end vegan selections, the restaurant was regarded ahead of its time.
Pure Food and Wine has continuously been named one of the most incredible restaurants in New York by magazines such as New York Magazine and Forbes.
Sarma quickly expanded her business by opening One Lucky Duck, a vegan juice bar, as well as an online store selling snacks and cuisine cooked at Pure Food and Wine.
After a successful growth, Sarma opened two more One Lucky Duck locations, one in Chelsea Park, New York, and the other in San Antonio, Texas.
Sarma also published the books Raw Eating/Real World and Living Raw Food, both about raw vegan food. According to the episode, the restaurant was on its way to profitability, despite the fact that it had to consider debt because of the investors who put money in.
Pure Food and Wine had gross sales of $7 million per year at one point. By 2016, however, everything had fallen apart, with staff walking out over unpaid salaries and Sarma and her husband being imprisoned for fraud.
Sarma Melngailis’ Net Worth Before Arrest
After her incarceration, Sarma’s prosperous businesses were shut down one by one, leaving her in debt. Sarma’s net worth was close to $1.5 million when she went to prison. She now owes over $6 million to her investors, employees, and others, according to the show.
Recommended: Where is Anthony Strangis aka Shane Fox Today?
How Much Money ‘Sarma Melngailis’ Sent to Anthony Strangis?
Sarma and Anthony met online in 2011 and married in December of the following year. However, officials estimated that by the time they were apprehended, Sarma had transferred about $1.6 million from the business to her personal account, while Anthony had gambled away $1.2 million.
Not only that, but they both spent almost $150,000 on fancy watches and European vacations. Both were eventually sentenced to short prison terms followed by probation for their actions.