What Sarma Melngailis' Duck Tattoo Really Means

As Isaac Fitzgerald, author of the book "Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos," once told Mel, "Tattoos are art — oftentimes, incredibly personal art. And when they're on chefs, who are fiercely committed to what they do and believe, the tattoos are often deep and meaningful."

Long before Sarma Melngailis became the face of internet memes calling her the "Vegan Bernie Madoff," she was as passionate as any other chef. Before being associated with fraud and scandals, the restaurateur was acclaimed for pioneering the raw food industry with her incredibly successful NYC restaurant Pure Food and Wine. And like many chefs in the industry, Melngailis sports a tattoo that has great personal significance to her.

While Melngailis doesn't carry a sleeve full of colorful tattoos like Guy Fieri or Matty Matheson, she does have one on her shoulder. Interviews and photos shown throughout Netflix's "Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives." show Melngailis with a black, duck-shaped tattoo. As it turns out, this ink is the logo of her brand One Lucky Duck — the takeaway, juice, and retail component of Pure Food and Wine, per Sarma Raw.

Sarma Melngailis hid her duck tattoo while on the run

The first few minutes of Netflix's "Bad Vegan" give viewers a brief overview of what happened with Sarma Melngailis and her raw food empire before diving into the details. One clip sees Melngailis showing off the duck tattoo on her shoulder. "This is the logo of my company," she says. "If I do something like this, then I have to make it work."

According to her website Sarma Raw, the chef and former restaurateur was so "committed" to her brand that she got the logo of One Lucky Duck inked on her shoulder soon after it was designed, sometime in early 2005. Melngailis confesses on "Bad Vegan" that while she was on the run from police with her husband, Anthony Strangis, the couple used fake names to hide their identities and rectangular patches to cover up her tattoo. Although Strangis asked her to use the patch so she wouldn't be asked about her tattoo, Melngailis also admits she was more than happy to do so because she didn't want to be reminded of all that was associated with the now not-so-lucky duck.

Even later when the police finally found her at a motel in Dollywood, Melngailis first gave them a fake name — Emma Donovan — but eventually helped confirm her real identity. How? By removing the bandaid and revealing her distinctly inked One Lucky Duck.