'Bad Vegan': All you need to know about the Netflix documentary from the creator of 'Tiger King'

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·3-min read
'Bad Vegan' is the latest must-see Netflix documentary. (Netflix)
'Bad Vegan' is the latest must-see Netflix documentary. (Netflix)

Bad Vegan is Netflix's latest must-see documentary that promises shocking twists, intrigue, and a stranger-than-fiction story.

The streaming service has become known for its addictive factual shows and is launching yet another title you'll want to add to your watch list.

Read more: Everything new streaming on Netflix this March

Here's all you need to know about Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.

When can I watch Bad Vegan?

The new title began streaming on Netflix today, 16 March, and is a series of four episodes which are all available to watch.

What is Bad Vegan about?

'Bad Vegan' looks at Sarma Melngailis, known as the vegan queen before she met Anthony Strangis. (Netflix)
'Bad Vegan' looks at Sarma Melngailis, known as the vegan queen before she met Anthony Strangis. (Netflix)

No one does a couldn't-make-it-up documentary quite like Netflix, and it seems the streaming platform has hit on yet another TV gold story.

Bad Vegan tells the true crime tale of Sarma Melngailis, a celebrity restaurateur known for her wildly popular New York vegan eatery Pure Food and Wine.

However, after she met a man called Shane Fox on Twitter in 2011, Melngailis went from being the vegan queen to the vegan fugitive.

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Fox, real name Anthony Strangis, convinced her that he could make all of her dreams come true, including elevating her business and making her pet pitbull immortal, if she handed over huge sums of money to him and followed his instructions without question.

Anthony Strangis posed as a man called Shane Fox. (Netflix)
Anthony Strangis posed as a man called Shane Fox. (Netflix)

A few years later, the couple were married and on the run after having stolen $2 million from the restaurant and its staff, but were eventually tracked down to a Tennessee motel - because Strangis had ordered a Domino's pizza charged under his real name.

Documentary creator Chris Smith told how "something shifted" about two thirds of the way through his first interview with Melngailis that helped him to see how strange the story was.

Read more: See Catherine Tate as all six characters in Netflix comedy Hard Cell

He said: "There were so many odd details to the journey. How does someone go from being a celebrated chef running a successful restaurant to ending up on the lam for 10 months? It's not a decision that's made lightly, and it's not made overnight. And through the course of that interview, we were able to start to piece everything together and better see that evolution."

Sarma Melngailis ran the popular New York restaurant Pure Food and Wine. (Netflix)
Sarma Melngailis ran the popular New York restaurant Pure Food and Wine. (Netflix)

Producer Mark Emms had known Melngailis for 15 years, but decided he had to make his first ever documentary after she explained what had happened to her.

Emms said: "I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was the most bizarre and surreal story I’d ever heard and I had to try and make sense of it. How and why did this nightmare happen to someone like Sarma? It was also a story that I found deeply shocking and cruel and it felt important that it be told to a wider audience."

What other famous shows has the creator made?

Tiger King (Credit: Netflix)
'Tiger King' has been one of the streaming service's biggest hits. (Netflix)

Chris Smith has made a number of big hits for Netflix - most notably, the lockdown runaway success Tiger King.

It revealed the bitter rivalry between big cat enthusiasts and park owners Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin which ended in Exotic being jailed over a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin, and also spawned a second series.

Netflix viewers may also have seen another of Smith's tales of the bizarre in Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened which investigated the infamous Fyre Festival, a supposed luxury event that shipped plane loads of punters to an island setting for a festival that had never been arranged.

Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. is streaming now on Netflix.

Watch: Joe Exotic's message to Carole Baskin from prison - 'Enough is enough'

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