Vegan Celebrity Chef Chloe Coscarelli on Getting Ousted from Her Restaurant

The chef says she has new projects in the works

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal announced that after a lengthy legal battle, vegan celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli would be parting with ESquared, the hospitality company behind her hit fast-casual spot, By Chloe. Now, Coscarelli is speaking out through an Instagram post saying, "I imagine this news has come as a surprise to many of you. Honestly, it's quite surreal for me too."

The company opened its first shop in July 2015, and it was an instant success. Together, Coscarelli and Samantha Wasser, the daughter of ESquared CEO Jimmy Haber, opened a total of five locations in NYC, one in Boston and another in L.A.'s outpost of 365 by Whole Foods, and planned a number of other locations.

But according to legal documents obtained by Eater, an arbitrator found Coscarelli to be "grossly negligent." Wasser's team accused Coscarelli of sabotaging the business repeatedly. The battle apparently started last summer when Coscarelli sued ESquared, alleging the company wanted to add meat options to the strictly vegan menu.

Coscarelli, who was the first vegan chef to win a TV cooking competition and has been vegan for over a decade, says in her post, "I am committed to being strong and positive, and will continue to champion vegan cuisine and what it stands for." She is also committed to fighting ESquared to not use her name, saying, "I will protect the integrity of my brand."

This isn't the last we will hear of her. She ends her post saying, "I have some exciting new projects in the works and can't wait to fill you in soon."

Meanwhile, Wasser and ESquared will continue to operate and expand By Chloe. Wasser tells Tasting Table that nothing will change about the company "other than the fact that we are finally able to grow, expand, and bring our concept to more diners nationwide without anyone holding us back." She and her team are opening another location in Boston, one in Providence and two more in New York. She is also prepared to fight to protect the brand, which she calls "my baby...I created the design, branding, social identity, and even came up with the name."