Chef Gordon Ramsay with Joseph Cerniglia. Photo: Eric Liebowitz / FOX
The body of a man found floating in the Hudson River last Friday afternoon was identified as 39-year-old New Jersey chef Joseph Cerniglia, a 2007 participant in Gordon Ramsay's reality TV show "Kitchen Nightmares."
Cerniglia, owner of Campania, an Italian restaurant in Fair Lawn, N.J., was pulled from the river around 3 p.m. on Friday when police responded to a 911 call that a body was floating in the river, the New York Daily News reported.
Police still don't know how Cerniglia wound up in the river, but the department is conducting an open investigation, a New York City Police Department spokesman told Slashfood on Monday.
Cerniglia appeared on "Kitchen Nightmares" in 2007 to help revive Campania, which he told the Bergen County Record was deep in debt.
"We were very busy, but I couldn't seem to make a profit," Cerniglia said. "We kept getting deeper and deeper into debt. Our food costs were high, and we couldn't get our labor costs under control."
The show's web site reveals that "Joe confides to Gordon that he has lost $120,000 in eighteen months and owes his purveyors another $80,000... Gordon meets Joe's wife and sons. She confides to Gordon that if the restaurant folds, they will lose everything -- including their house."
After Ramsay helps get Campania back on its feet, "in the weeks following Gordon's visit, Campania's customers are happy, profits are up and Joe has regained control of the front and of the kitchen," the site says.