The man who connects the Netflix series Bad Vegan to RI’s Plant City

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

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Photo: Screengrab of “Bad Vegan”

The top-ranked Netflix series and Rhode Island’s growing “plant-based” vegan empire have something in common.
Chef Matthew Kenny.

Kenny, featured in the Netflix documentary series Bad Vegan, made headlines four years ago when he brought his plant-based restaurant concept to Rhode Island.

As GoLocal first reported in 2019, Kenny had his sights set on opening a vegan food hall — Plant City — in Providence.

“Growing up in New England, I love coming back to the area, so expanding our brand to Providence is especially exciting,” Kenny, who grew up in Maine, told GoLocal.

Kenny now boasts eight Plant City locations in Rhode Island on his corporate website. Five are actually located inside the Plant City Food Hall on South Water Street. The “345” speakeasy is across the parking lot. In Middletown and Warwick he has two “Plant City X”.

He has pitched dozens of properties from Costa Rica to Tel Aviv. His website listing of Rhode Island does not include the newly announced location at Bryant University.

See full list at the bottom

Kenny has been busy expanding his empire, but his past business troubles have been picked up by streaming giant Netflix.

Featured on Netflix

“Bad Vegans: Fame. Record how much you raised.

The series delves into how she met and bonded with Shane Fox, the focus of the series, but first there was Kenny.

“I was a fan of Matthew even before I met him,” Mengailis said in the documentary. [him] About working on that cookbook.

The two have since become a couple and opened a vegan restaurant in New York with the backing of investor Jeffrey Choudrow, according to a Netflix documentary.

“I think it was ahead of its time,” Nikki King Bennett, former Executive Chef of Pure Food, said at the show.

According to the documentary, rifts between the couple soon began to appear.

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Matthew Kenny.Photo: Kenny

“Every business usually has a story behind it. I bet, they must be making a lot of money…I think they assume everything is great.”But they don’t look much behind the scenes…there’s a back story. It’s been challenging over the years.”
“I was always really cautious with money, but he wasn’t as cautious,” she continued, referring to Kenny.

The series then delves into those splits.

“Matthew Kenny wasn’t a respected businessman. Rumors circulated in New York that Matthew was a man who didn’t pay his bills, which scared many investors and caused trouble.”

“I started getting more and more resentful…and we weren’t getting along,” Melungeilis said of her relationship with Kenny.

“Our split became very public, and during that time people came to restaurants. They came to watch some kind of reality TV type fight,” Mengailis continued. were both there. I hadn’t left, he hadn’t left.”

Chodorow was reportedly forced to intervene.

“I got a call from Matthew…he said to me, I can’t continue working with Salma and I need to get her out of the restaurant,” Chodro said on camera. I got a call from Sama.”

“Then I thought about it. I said my option was Matthew Kenney, who was a very talented chef…he had a bad financial history,” Chadrow added. “And then I had Salma…she was a very accomplished person in her own right.”

“So I chose Salma. And I told Matthew to go,” he added. “Frankly, I think it shocked him.”

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Botanical City of Providence.Photo: Go Local

chef movement

According to multiple publications, Kenny faces numerous lawsuits.

“Celebrity vegan chef Matthew Kenny is facing a lawsuit from The Sacred Space, the landlord of Plant Food + Wine Miami, alleging non-payment of rent, breach of non-compete obligations and non-payment of sales tax during the lease term. The Miami Herald said, “It reports,” Eater reported in 2017.

The 2018 Miami Herald reported that “Plant Miami” and Kenny had settled the lawsuit.

“This Miami vegan restaurant is thriving after ditching celebrity chef,” headlined the Herald.

Herald wrote:

“[Owner Karla] In late November, Dascal settled a lawsuit against California vegan and raw food chef Matthew Kenney, the award-winning chef who brought plant-based restaurant Plant Food and Wine to South Florida. The restaurant offered a level of vegan and vegetarian cuisine that Miami didn’t know.

Dascal sued him in March, claiming he owed more than $1.4 million in rent and broke a contract by lending his name to Miami Beach’s Plnthouse, a second plant-based restaurant in South Florida. bottom. It was the latest in a series of lawsuits against Kenny, as reported in a Miami Herald investigation in July. and counterclaimed for unspecified damages. They settled and Dascal renamed the restaurant Plant Miami.

Through it all, the restaurant never closed. The original day-to-day chefs, a husband-and-wife team who have been with the restaurant since its inception, have stayed with the restaurant for its loyal fans and innovated a new plant-based menu. “

Both Kenny and Plant City owner Kim Anderson did not respond to requests for comment about Kenny’s current involvement with the Rhode Island restaurant.

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