Former ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ chef dies in George Washington Bridge suicide

If you’re a fan of Gordan Ramsay’s high-stress restaurant makeover reality show Kitchen Nightmares, you may recall the episode centering around Campania in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

Current patrons say the restaurant, then heavily in debt and in danger of imminent closure, had begun to do markedly better after Chef Ramsey came to town. At the time of the broadcast, 39-year-old owner Joseph Cerniglia ( did a follow up with him earlier this year about the Kitchen Nightmares aftermath) said the eatery had “big, big problems.”

“I’m financially in trouble — the debt of the restaurant alone is overwhelming. My personal debt — wife, kids mortgage — that’s a lot of debt,” he moaned on the show.

“I owe my purveyors about $80,000 right now in cold, hard cash… I can’t see us going on another year.”

Cernaglia’s body was recovered from the Hudson River Friday after police responded to a report of a man standing on the George Washington Bridge shortly before 1pm. Cerniglia, of Pompton Lakes, is believed to have leaped from the bridge shortly after he was spotted. He is survived by a wife and three children.