Chef criticised by GordonRamsay commits suicide

New Jersey chef jumps off George Washington Bridge - second Ramsay contestant to kill themselves

Joseph Cerniglia Gordon Ramsay

An American restaurateur lambasted by Gordon Ramsay during the first US series of Kitchen Nightmares for his "boring, tasteless and bland" food and lack of business acumen has been found dead. It appears he committed suicide by leaping off the George Washington Bridge across the Hudson River.

Joseph Cerniglia was 39 and owned the Campania restaurant in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

When he appeared on Kitchen Nightmares in 2007, Cerniglia admitted the restaurant was in trouble, owing $80,000 to its suppliers. His mother, Pat, said on the show: "I worry about Joe. I worry about his stress levels."

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Nevertheless, Ramsay harangued him for serving unnecessarily large portions and for failing to instill a professional attitude in his staff.

"Your business is about to fucking swim down the Hudson," said Ramsay. "Why did you become a chef-owner if you haven't a clue how to run a business?"

Cerniglia is the second American chef to commit suicide following an appearance on a Gordon Ramsay TV programme. Rachel Brown, who competed in an earlier Hell's Kitchen show, shot herself at her parents' home in Dallas, Texas in 2007. She was 41.

Joseph Cerniglia told Ramsay in the course of the 2007 show that he couldn't see the Campania surviving another year. And yet it did and, despite the chef's death, the family say they intend to keep the restaurant open.

Fair Lawn neighbours say the dressing-down by Ramsay may have helped in the short term. "The parking lot is packed at weekends," one of them told the New York Post.

A statement issued on behalf of Gordon Ramsay yesterday said: "I was fortunate to spend time with Joe during the first season of Kitchen Nightmares. Joe was a brilliant chef, and our thoughts go out to his family, friends and staff."

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