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September 10, 1972 |
Newton, Massachusetts, USA
University of Pennsylvania
French Culinary Institute
|Spouse(s)||Anthony Strangis (also known as "Shane Fox")|
|Cooking style||Raw foodism|
Melngailis was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts and attended Newton North High School. Her early interest in food came from her mother, a professional chef. Her father was a physicist at MIT. Melngailis graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 with a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School. She moved to New York City, working at Bear Stearns until 1996, then moving to Bain Capital in Boston on private equity investment. She returned to New York City in 1998 and joined a high-yield investment fund at CIBC, but soon left to enroll at New York’s French Culinary Institute from which she graduated in 1999.
Together with her then boyfriend chef, author and speaker Matthew Kenney, she opened Commissary in 2001, but it closed in March 2003, after which she consulted for Jeffrey Chodorow's China Grill Management. With Chodorow and Kenney, Melngailis opened Pure Food and Wine in June 2004 as New York City’s first upscale raw food restaurant. Located in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood, the restaurant was listed twice in New York magazine’s “Top 100 Restaurants” and five years in a row in Forbes magazine’s list of “All Star New York Eateries."
One Lucky Duck Juice and Takeaway is the name of the takeaway retail store attached to the restaurant, Pure Food and Wine. OneLuckyDuck.com, launched in 2005, is an online store for snacks prepared and packaged from her restaurant as well as ingredients, skincare, supplements, books, apparel, and home products, all related to raw and organic living. A second One Lucky Duck location was open in New York City's Chelsea Market from December 2009 through January 2015.
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