The sister of the New Jersey restaurateur once ripped on national television by Scottish foodie Gordon Ramsay has denied that the celebrity chef played any part in the chef’s suicide — but Joseph Cerniglia’s lifestyle in the months leading up to his death is another story.
Cerniglia, owner of eatery Campania, was berated by Ramsay in a 2007 episode of Kitchen Nightmares and warned his business would “swim down the Hudson.” In a cryptic show of irony, his body was found in the same river last Friday following reports of sightings of a man leaping from the George Washington Bridge into the icy water below.
But the Danielle Wynn, the sister of Cerniglia, 39, says her family remained thankful to Ramsay, despite him declaring the Joe did not have “a clue how to run a business.” During his appearance on the show, the married father of three complained that his dream of owning his own restaurant was driving him into the poor house.
“He really liked Gordon and the show was great,” Wynn says.
She was unrelenting in her support of Gordon, even after learning that three other chefs affiliated with Ramsay’s shows have also taken their own lives.
“The show was also great for business. It really helped tremendously. There are no hard feelings at all from our family to Gordon Ramsay, who is a wonderful man. His behaviour on the show was played up for the cameras.”
While Gordon Ramsay may not to blame for Joe Cerniglia’s demise, the food lover’s personal vices may have. The restaurateur was reportedly involved doing the mattress mambo after house with pastry chef Jessica Marotta, 27. The affair destroyed Cerniglia’s marriage to wife Melissa, sending Joseph into a downward spiral of depression, The New York Post reports.
The report also claims that cops in Northern New Jersey were called to the restaurant on July 15 following a late-night emergency call stating that Mr Cerniglia was in distress after snorting cocaine. He was reportedly sweating and shaking as an ambulance crew took him to hospital. He was later charged with being under the influence of narcotics.
On Wednesday, Ramsay also released a statement declaring his sadness.
“I was fortunate to spend time with Joe during the first season of Kitchen Nightmares. Joe was a brilliant chef, and our thoughts go out to his family, friends and staff.”