Caterer Joseph Cerniglia – who was savaged by Gordon Ramsay on Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares – has committed suicide because of money troubles related to his Campania restaurant, RadarOnline.com is reporting.
The body of the 39-year-old New Jersey restaurateur was found floating in the Hudson River in New York. Officials believed he jumped to his death.
When Cerniglia appeared on Ramsay’s reality show in 2007, the volatile host told him: “You’re restaurant is about to f** king swim down the Hudson – why did you become a chef-owner if you haven’t got a clue how to run a business?”
Cerniglia’s family posted messages of condolences on his Facebook page ‘thanking all of his friends for their messages and condolences.’
They asked for financial donations be sent in lieu of flowers to support his widow Melissa Cerniglia and their three sons Evan, Michael and Nicholas.
When he appeared on Kitchen Nightmares Cerniglia claimed that he owed $50,500 to his suppliers.
He added, “The debt of this restaurant alone is overwhelming – my personal debt, wife, kids, mortgage – that’s a lot of debt.”
During the show, his wife was seen crying after she said, “If this business fails, we will lose everything.”
After Ramsay’s advice the restaurant survived and held a grand re-launch and according to locals it seemed to be thriving.
One local, Eveline Grzymala, 22, told the New York Post: “He said that Ramsay was intense, but that he turned out to be a nice guy – that in the end he helped him out.”
It’s understood to be the second suicide by a former contestant on one of Gordon Ramsay’s shows.
Chef Rachel Brown, 41, who competed in Hell’s Kitchen in 2006, shot herself in her family’s home the following year.