Guy Vaknin is a chef who wants to expand his vegan sushi restaurants, Beyond Sushi, across the country. There are currently six (6) Beyond Sushi restaurants in Manhattan. Vaknin, who claims to be one of the pioneers of the vegan sushi movement, pitches his business on Shark Tank (October 21). He goes into the Tank seeking a $1.5 million investment in exchange for 25 percent equity of his planned venture on the West Coast and 5 percent for his current operation on the East Coast.
If Vaknin looks familiar to you, you’re not alone. He was a contestant on Season 10 (2012) of the popular cooking competition, Hell’s Kitchen starring celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. One of Vaknin’s most memorable scenes on the show was when he told Ramsay not to taste his signature dish (dishpan-seared bass). The former drill sergeant from Israel told Ramsay: “Don’t put it in your mouth, it’s not good. It’s…NOT GOOD! It’s not for eating.” Vaknin came in 13th place on Hell’s Kitchen, but clearly the loss didn’t hamper his entrepreneurial spirit or drive to open (and keep open) six restaurants in Manhattan in six years. That’s impressive! New episodes of Shark Tank air Sundays (times vary: 9 pm or 10 pm) on ABC.