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Kitchen Nightmares Participant Suicides – Implicating Gordon Ramsay’s Show Is Wrong

This week it emerges that a restaurant owner/chef Joseph Cerniglia, 39, who had been on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares has been found in the Hudson River deceased.

The owner of an Italian eatery called Campania, was seen by viewers in the 2007 episode of Kitchen Nightmare had allegedly committed suicide.

Gordon Ramsay has come in for some criticism from various media outlets about his style on the show, which slightly questions whether he could have contributed to his death.

The SMH writes:

When the chef sighed, Ramsay said: “Are you getting upset now?”

Cerniglia said that he was “getting real upset”, to which Ramsay replied: “Thank —- for that. Hopefully I’ll get through to you now.”

Later Cerniglia told the programme: “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.”

Ramsay asked Cerniglia: “Why did you become a chef-owner if you haven’t a clue how to run a business? Your business is about to swim down the ——- Hudson.”

Mr Cerniglia’s mother, Pat, told the programme: “I worry about Joe. I worry about his stress levels.”

His wife, Melissa, said the couple had “put everything on the line for a dream”, adding: “If this business fails, we will lose everything.”

The also write:

The restaurant survived after Ramsay suggested changes to its menu and layout in the 2007 series.

Customers said it had recently been doing well and was usually busy.

And also mentioned that he was the second Kitchen Nightmares participant to commit suicide.

Trying to create a link between the cause of the suicide and Gordon is spurious. He appeared on the show 3 years ago, and if you look at the YouTube footage on the SMH site,  he did not seem too scarred by the experience.

Also by casting these aspersions it does no favours for people who suffer from a mental illness or suffering from depression. Mental illness is much more complex then that.


1 ericg { 10.01.10 at 5:15 pm }

I concur big time. Mental illness is indeed more complex. If the deceased’s mother was worried over her son, as well as his wife, Cerniglia needed professional assistance ASAP. I wonder whether did he get some.

To enroll yourself in a Reality TV and then the person who has helped her/him getting through the difficulties ended up being put on the chopping board to be chopped by the media or critics is uber unfair – Quote from “He declined to comment on whether Cerniglia’s participation in his programme may have in any way contributed to his death.” Why would SMH be asking that question?!

RIP J Cerniglia.

2 Culinary Boner { 10.01.10 at 5:15 pm }

Having seen several of these Kitchen Nightmare episodes in the past and the generally untalented, unsustainably aspirational and sadly delusional owners featured, one could perhaps (well, maybe just) argue that all Ramsey’s intervention did was put off the inevitable. Sad that these people did what they did.

3 Wurstsemmel { 10.01.10 at 6:42 pm }

It was reported elsewhere that this person has had substance abuse and other issues in intervening period. So, as everyone has aleady said, a far more complex position that probably doesn’t make for such sensational reading.

Very sad for Joseph, his family and children.

4 angie @ gnomeangel { 10.01.10 at 9:40 pm }

I agree. It is so disappointing to see this story being reported this way. It once again reflects poorly on standard of journalism at the moment. It’s trying to make a mountain out of mole hill.

It also shows a blatant disregard for the people involved. Inevitably there would be some emotional reaction from all those involved in the show and it’s poor form for the papers to be trying to make something more of it.

As a person who has battled depression in the past ultimately the only person that can be held responsible for the actions of this poor man is himself. We are all only responsible for our actions. It’s so sad that he felt that this was his only option, but that decision had nothing to do with Kitchen Nightmares.

Just my two cents…

5 anon { 10.01.10 at 11:09 pm }

Yes, the SMH published this story on their website (and yes, I totally agree that the link between this chef’s suicide and Ramsay is spurious) but it is attributed to AFP and London’s Telegraph

An article from Britain’s The Guardian of the same ilk, though a little bit more balanced:

6 Reality Raver { 10.02.10 at 5:16 pm }

Anon – I am not pointing the finger at SMH, as most of the articles were trying to whip it into a yarn that it was not. Thanks for the link.

Gnome Angel – Agree with what you say.

Wurst, CB, and Ericg – good to know that most people think that the finger should not be pointed at Gordon, and it should be treated much more serious than this.

7 home { 03.26.14 at 11:01 pm }

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