FAIR LAWN – When Chef Joseph Cerniglia appeared on “Kitchen Nightmares,” host Gordon Ramsay told him his New Jersey business would soon “swim down the Hudson.”
The comment was a grim foreshadowing of things to come.
It was the 39-year-old Cerniglia who was found floating in the Hudson River about 3 p.m. on a September day in 2010 after 911 received a report of a man jumping form the George Washington Bridge.
The body was identified as Cerniglia’s. The medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.
His Italian restaurant Campania, located in Fair Lawn, was featured on a 2007 episode of “Kitchen Nightmares,” a show where Ramsay takes a hard-nosed approach to turning around failing eateries.
Cerniglia, who had three children, was nearly $200,000 in debt at the time of the show’s taping, according to a FOX episode guide. He had previously worked as the executive chef at Gallagher’s Steakhouse on West 52nd Street in Manhattan before opening his own place in Fair Lawn.
He was reportedly the second chef who had appeared on television under Ramsay’s tutelage to kill himself.
The first one, Rachel Brown, shot herself to death in her family’s Dallas home, the New York Post reported.
Chef of Death?