I had read, in multiple sources, including the New York Post, that the reason for the messy break-up was due to the financial backer’s desire to start selling animal products. Eager to get the news out, I posted a short story about the drama.
The next morning, my publicist contacted me with an urgent message: restaurant co-owner, Samantha Wasser wanted to talk to me to set the record straight, so I obliged. I was beyond curious.
I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.
Jackie: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, Samantha.
Samantha: Thank you for being willing to listen.
Jackie: Well, there are enough fantastic reasons for folks to go vegan – and reasons to support vegans – without the need to mislead anyone so I’m more than happy to let you tell your side of the story so everyone can hear your voice, and come to their own conclusions. Are you vegan?
Samantha: I am not.
Jackie: How did you and Chloe Coscarelli Meet? Were you friends prior to your restaurant venture?
Samantha: Chloe found us, and reached out to us to form a partnership.
Jackie: It’s my understanding that the current seven “by Chloe” restaurants will remain vegan, but future locations will sell animal products, is that correct?
Samantha: No, no, no, NEVER! We would never do that to our customers or our staff! We will not now, nor ever; in 100 years, never! Malicious lies! This was never discussed. Selling animal products had nothing to do with the lawsuit and nothing to do with the arbitration issues. I think that somehow that rumor got out there and it spun out of control, but it was never even in the thought process.
Jackie: Wow, you’ve really thrown off my next set of questions, because this is the first I’m hearing of this. I thought the plan was to sell animal products in the new locations, and that’s what started the dispute. I’ve heard that there are often lines out the door for food at the by Chloe locations in New York; they’re doing very well, so I just couldn’t figure out why you’d want to start selling animal products, if by Chloe is already prosperous as a vegan restaurant.
Samantha: By Chloe will always be 100% plant-based and kosher certified. We have a successful business, why would we ever want to jeopardize that? I just want people to know the truth.
Jackie: So, in the redacted arbitration award document, it states Chloe conducted “gross negligence in connection with the business” in regard to securing the lease at the Barnard location. I assumed that was because she was trying to prevent a non-vegan by Chloe from opening.
Jackie: And Chloe’s “interference” with chefs’ contracts? The redacted arbitration award document mentions two walked away. I originally thought perhaps some weren’t vegan, and that’s why Chloe, according to the document, “interfered.”
Samantha: No. All the chefs were vegan.
Jackie: So, I just don’t get it. Why did this all happen?
Samantha: If you find out, please let me know know because I’ve been asking the same question for the last year.
Jackie: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Samantha: I just want everyone to know the truth. We want to be connected to the vegan community. I hope that once people understand we’re not using Chloe’s name for non-vegan restaurants, and they see the full picture, they will come back to being loyal friends of the brand. We want people to know the facts. We wish Chloe well with her new ventures and we don’t want any negativity.
Jackie: Are there any lessons learned here?
Samantha: Well, in working on two other successful projects, with other chefs, I can just say: choose the right partners. And, know that social media doesn’t always paint the whole picture; it often paints one narrative. We want to move forward and continue to grow the by Chloe brand that we created from day one.
Jackie: What’s your favorite menu item at by Chloe?
Samantha: I love the Spicy Thai Salad.
I’m still very sad for Chloe. According to her post on Instagram, she turned her home into a vegan test kitchen, and created every single by Chloe recipe, testing them hundreds of times. It was her “dream” and a “labor of love.”
It just seems like if you help create a successful, compassionate restaurant that bears your name, you should proudly bask in the glory and play a part in its future. Good things should come to good people. I don’t know what went wrong.
I’m not sure if we’ll ever know the full story, but at least one thing is now clear: there are NO plans to abuse or kill animals for by Chloe Restaurants.
And that, at least, is a very good thing.
[Note: The arbitration took place over 12 days, contained over 4,000 pages of transcripts, and over 600 hearing exhibits were entered into evidence. Seven witnesses testified.]
Jackie Day, Author of the new book The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You (St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan) Check it out! It’s getting GREAT reviews!