It was the restaurant often described as New York’s first upscale raw and vegan eatery, and Sarma cemented herself as the vegan queen after opening Pure Food and Wine in 2004.
She quickly gained traction amongst America’s finest after she started promoting veganism and eating raw food, attracting a number of celebrity patrons.
The launch of One Lucky Duck, a juice bar company, soon followed in 2012, shortly after Sarma met a man named Shane Fox on Twitter in 2011.
What followed was a whirlwind journey of love, deceit, and the hunt for immortality.
Under the guise of making her dreams a reality, from expanding her food empire to making her beloved pitbull Leon immortal, Sarma followed Shane’s every request without question.
During their relationship, Sarma allegedly began draining her restaurant’s funds and funnelling the money to Shane, according to the National.
A few years later the couple married and found themselves on the lam after stealing nearly $2 million from the restaurant and its staff.
After 40 days, the two were found holed up in a Tennessee motel by law enforcement, following a charge made under Shane’s real name, Anthony Strangis, for a Domino’s pizza.
But how did Sarma, an educated, talented woman with New York on her plate and a promising future waiting ahead of her, end up broke and on the run from police?
According to her lawyers, Sarma was under a form of “coercive control” whereby Anthony directed every aspect of her life, from her finances down to who she could and couldn’t see.
“He combined the best techniques of cult leaders — abusive partner control, manipulation and con artist — along with the worst tactics of prosperity theology,” Sarma’s lawyer Sheila Tendy told Vanity Fair.
“Meaning, 'when you give me your money, you’ll get 10 times back next week',” Sheila continued.
According to the publication, Anthony, through his court-appointed attorney, Samuel Karliner, denied all these allegations.
A year after her arrest, Sarma pled guilty to grand larceny, tax fraud, and conspiring to defraud in May 2017.
Anthony also pled guilty to four counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree and was sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation, as per Forbes.
Sarma was sentenced to three and a half months in prison and served her sentence at Rikers Island - the same jail where Anna Delvey was held between 2017 and 2021.
While her story airs on Netflix, Sarma will be watching on from her apartment in Harlem, where she lives with her beloved dog Leon.
The same dog who Sarma risked everything for after he was promised immortality by Anthony – or Shane as he went by – who is nearly 12 years old.
As for where she is now, in a 2019 interview with the New York Post, Sarma shared her plans to leave New York City to work on her memoir.
“It’s easier to live quietly outside of the city,” she told the publication, before promising she would be back, and that she still hopes to revive her business in NYC.
“If there was some magical opportunity to open the same restaurant in the same place, I would do it in a heartbeat.”
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives is available to stream on Netflix from March 16.