Thursday, 26 May 2011

Kitchen Nightmares - Campania - CLOSED

Kitchen Nightmares Campania


Episode Recap


Chef Gordon Ramsay visits Campania in Fairlawn, New Jersey bought by Joseph Cerniglia only 18 months ago but it is already close to closing it's doors. The staff are always playing around and no one takes the business seriously. The kitchen is barely functional with broken fridge doors and a broken oven used to store cloths. Gordon arrives to meet Joe, meanwhile the staff are loudly goofing around in the kitchen. Gordon sits down to try the food and Joe comes out of the kitchen to meet Gordon. He points at Gordon and then goes back into the kitchen. Gordon orders the tortellini soup, ravioli and pistachio and cranberry crusted chicken. Whilst he is waiting Gordon hears the antics going on in the kitchen and is not impressed with what he hears. The soup is bland and tasteless with bought in tortellini, the ravioli is covered in sauce filled with garlic and the chicken has grilled zucchini that looks like "a bison's tongue" and is dry and sweet. He goes into the kitchen to confront Joe and Head Chef Gene and Joe contemplates whether it was a mistake to appear on the show. Gordon inspects the fridges and is surprised to find that the fridges are stocked full of food. With customer numbers low, Gordon sees where they are wasting their money. It becomes clear to Gordon from what he sees that Joe is not up to managing the business side of the restaurant.

Gordon arrives to witness a dinner service and realises that the staff are acting like the restaurant is a high school and the restaurant is overstaffed. Some of the staff have to go and Gordon asks Joe to make his first change, which is to send home some wait staff. Gordon is left to greet the guests whilst the females flirt with the boys in the kitchen. The customers are left in the dining room waiting for food with one customer resorting to ordering a takeaway pizza! When the guests receive their food, the huge portion sizes mean that most of the guests leave with leftovers for the next day. Gordon can see that this is another waste of money, when Gordon mentions this Joe gets defensive.

The next day, Gordon meets with Joe's wife to find out more about the situation and she tells him that if the restaurant fails that they will lose their house. Determined to turn the restaurant around Gordon introduces a signature dish for the restaurant to make them stand out, meatballs. They head out into town to promote "New Jersey's Best Meatballs" by handing out samples and flyers. Joe confides that he is in $200,000 of debt and Gordon tells him that he needs to start taking the business seriously. Overnight the restaurant is given a makeover, complete with a brand new oven and smaller plates as well as the revamped menu with smaller portions and featuring the signature meatballs. To motivate the staff and challenge the kitchen they play a game of "server bingo" with the first server to sell everything on the menu winning $100.

On relaunch night, the restaurant is packed and the food leaves the kitchen at a good pace. However, there is a lot of drama in the restaurant! An older woman finds her steak "tough" and complains, Gordon sees that there is nothing wrong with the food and tells her to stop causing trouble and talking out of her rear, he also advices other customers to ignore the old bat. Joe feels the pressure and steps out of the kitchen to tour the dining room, whilst he does the kitchen backs up leaving customers waiting. Another woman says loudly whilst leaving that her pasta tasted like Ragu in front of Joe's Mother which upsets her. Meanwhile, another woman starts a fight in the parking lot accusing the complaining customer of complaining to get a free meal and wine as she continued to eat the meal. A police car drives by whilst this argument takes place. Gordon gives Joe a pep talk about being strong and not letting customers complaints affect him. With his new attitude Joe pulls the kitchen back together for a successful finish to the service. Gordon appeals to Joe to try and be strong without giving in to customer's complaints. Joe returns to the kitchen with a more serious attitude. He inspires the team to complete the dinner service. The team is pulled together for a pep talk and as a final parting task, they smash all the old, large plates.

What Happened Next? 


Joe won Chef Central's Bergen County Ultimate Chef Competition in 2008 and came Runner Up in 2009. In September 2010 Joe sold the restaurant to Campania Holding Corp and 8 days later committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson river ,it appears he was in a relationship with a waitress Jessica. The restaurant closed in January 2011. Sage Restaurant, an American/Italian restaurant opened in it's place on 29th March 2012 with mostly good reviews.

Extra Reading


27 comments:

  1. He jumped off of the George Washington bridge and his body was found in the Hudson River, not the "Hudson Bridge".

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    1. Especially unnerving considering at one point when talking about the finances Gordan says "$#%(#$ take a swim in the Hudson"

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    2. I am watching this right now on Hulu and that is not what Chef Gordan Ramsey said. He said if the restaurant doesn't start making money, it's going to take a swim down the Hudson.

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  2. I believe BBC America has withdrawn this episode from their schedules due to the death.

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    1. Bio channel has not.

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    2. This episode just aired on FYI at 12:00 pm today.

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  3. It seemed obvious during the show that he was sleeping with at least one waitress... didn't it?!?

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    1. yes it did. there's at one point when he touches her shoulders on the camera in the episode found on netflix.

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  4. Im now getting to see these old episodes and sad to hear this is what happened.

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  5. Yes, there was so much play in that restaurant that I was pretty sure there was some hanky-panky going on. Still, Joe seemed the last person one would think would commit suicide :(

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  6. Yes, Anonymous 13May2013, it was obvious that he was sleeping with at least one member of the staff. Bells and whistles were going off as I watched and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Body language? Hanky-panky, indeed. I hope his wife and kids are doing okay.

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  7. I had been watching the older episodes of Kitchen Nightmares and while learning of the affair didn't blow my mind, it really struck me when I heard he died. I know that there are likely some contrivances, etc. but I like to think some people are truly helped by Gordon and the show. It is truly terrible that this happened, Joe seemed to be a talented chef and well-meaning guy. It is so unfortunate that things went so far downhill for him emotionally.

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  8. Just watched the episode and came here to read what happened next. As far as cheating, unsurprised ... I thought of that possibility while watching the episode. The suicide thing was a big surprise.

    ...Wow.

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  9. When I read that there were court issues going on over his Life Ins Policy, I am seriously hoping that the slutty mistress doesn't think that she is cashing in on his death when she already ruined his family's life. Consideration for kids etc. How many times will they watch that episode and be mortified at their dad's behavior around those waitresses.. very obvious that there was a bit of in-house breeding going on.
    The scene where he let the staff go, he picked the guy (obviously because he didn't flirt and was a guy) and the only waitress who looked professional, holding her notepad ready to take notes from Chef Ramsay and obviously wasn't in with the 'click', to let go.
    Prayers for his family and of course for him, but horrific result for his family.
    Were the family better off with him living with the shame or killing himself? Seriously, poor family xxx

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    1. I doubt you will see this and while I agree that he chose those two for that reason I always thought that he let them go for that night. I don't think he fired them just said your not working tonight. I swore I saw the young male washing dishes near the end of the episode.

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    2. The guy "who needs a hair cut" gets kicked by the owner but we can see the same person later at the grand opening, working in the kitchen.
      What was going on there? I first thouth this was staged. Don't know what to think of.

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    3. The two were let go for that night since they only had 2 tables and 11 staff that day, way too many, so "who is going home?" GR said. Not who is getting fired.

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  10. I am going through and catching up on the early seasons and couldn't figure out why BBC America never shows this episode...well, now I know. Even if he was a lousy businessman and unfaithful to his family, Joe is still one of the more pleasant owners in the history of the show. RIP

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  11. Just watched here in Brazil. I was very saddened by this news.
    André MM.

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  12. Posting this in July, 2014 - My husband and I just finished watching this 2007 episode. As the credits rolled, I logged on to my laptop to check out the Kitchen Nightmares Updates sites I have bookmarked I wanted to see if there have been any updates since the initial airing or if the restaurant had since closed.

    "Updates", indeed. I was floored to see that Joe had committed suicide.

    Why in the heck is this episode still being aired?? I saw a couple of mentions in the comments above that BBC America doesn't show this episode anymore, which explains why we had never before seen it; tonight, however, we happened to catch Kitchen Nightmares reruns on the Bio cable channel (which will change over to its new branding as the "FYI" cable network in about 1/2 hour).

    Then to see in a couple of the linked articles that the mother of his mistress had agreed to be interviewed by the media ... and to read how she had wailed about how "heartbroken" her daughter was at his death, and how in love the daughter and Joe had been ... seriously?? What an utter lack of class and compassion! And how were his parents, his wife, and his kids supposed to feel if they read that?

    My belated condolences to Joe's family - I hope that they are doing okay, and that they have been able to piece their lives back together as much as possible. The three kids were adorable, and the wife seemed like a kind person who truly cared about her family. I really hope that none of them happened to be watching Bio/FYI tonight. RIP, Joe.

    RIP Joe, and

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  13. Agree with all the above comments....very sad and selfish on his part to abuse his power as a boss. Best wishes to his wife and family

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    1. @Jacob Streiff "very sad and selfish on his part to abuse his power as a boss"
      As Ramsay would you "You donkey!"

      He commits suicide and all you care about is that he had an affair which was between two legal adults?

      Who cares if he had an affair! The ONLY thing that matters is that he committed suicide.

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    2. "The ONLY thing that matters is that he committed suicide." So, that means that things people do before they are alive don't matter? And that if they kill somebody and then die themselves it also doesn't matter? Jesus Christ man, he is dead, but his family is STILL ALIVE.

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    3. ... He'd been depressed, if anything else.

      And he was at the inflating apex. Nothing we could do.

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  14. Sad he died but you could tell the restaraunt was his fun house to hang out with his click, his wife looked really nice bit delusional wanting to to have his cake and eat it

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  15. I came here to talk about the old woman/family who were fishing for a free meal and a chance to be on tv and Gordon called her an old bag but it was clear as day he was sleepin with Jessica hell the show opened with her giggling and smiling and playing with him in the kitchen. Hope his wife had a great insurance policy and her and their kid are taken care of is all I have to say about the rest of it.

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  16. Its sad that he took his own life, I dont care about the affairs he maby had, I do hope that the kids and their mom are okay and maby have some support from Ramsey and the others.

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