Hollywood con man terrorizes London restaurant scene while trying to become part of it

When it comes to con artists, money is usually the primary motive. But in the current influencer-driven landscape, clout can seem an equally worthy end. At least that’s the case for a man known as Gavin Ambani, who embarked on a desperate quest to become a food-based Instagram personality and break into the tight-knit world of the U.K. restaurant scene. Among his antics were an unabashed amount of name-dropping, syrupy adulation directed at key players in the London food community, and, when his audacious demands weren’t met, harsh threats and accusations. One publicist told The Guardian: “When he wasn’t being horrendously abusive, he was very charming.” What the shaken folks he was busy harassing on the other side of the pond didn’t know was that he was wanted in the U.S. on a variety of fraud charges. (For more on that, we recommend the serialized podcast Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen.) Ambani was arrested after the U.K. victims hired a private investigator who partnered with the FBI. Still, one chef he befriended remains baffled. “I don’t know what his endgame was. He wasn’t very well informed about food at all.”

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