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Kitchen Nightmares.png "The team works overnight to remodel the restaurant."
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Before Gordon's Arrival


Joe Cerniglia, Owner/Chef

Gene, Head Chef

Josette, Waitress

Jessica, Waitress

Katie, Waitress(fired)

Ariana, Waitress

Pat, Joe's Mother

Melissa, Joe's wife

Campania had historically been a successful restaurant, but since Joe took it over, it's been struggling. There is a large, young staff at Campania, and Joe lets them do what they want. A lot of restaurant equipment also doesn't work. Joe is in a lot of debt to a lot of different creditors. Joe's wife and mother are worried about him. Nonetheless, Joe is confident in his abilities as a chef. The other leader of the kitchen, his head chef Gene is also young and arrogant.

First Impressions

Gordon arrives by taxi, and notes that Campania doesn't seem to be in a good location. Joe exits the kitchen and greets Gordon. Gordon is somewhat put off by Joe's hand motions.

First Meal

Food Ordered

Tortellini Soup, Sausage Ravioli, Pistachio Crusted Chicken

Impressions of the Food

Tortellini Soup-Gordon says it is bland, tasteless and not worth the wait, and can tell they were not homemade

Sausage Ravioli-Gordon says there is too much garlic for his liking

Pistachio Crusted Chicken-Gordon says the chicken is dry and the sauce is bad, and the overall dish is boring

First Dinner Service

Gordon inspects the fridge and finds a lot of waste, especially since the restaurant is not popular. He determines this must be a major source of debt. Ahead of the dinner service, the young staff is goofing off. Gordon gets them together, and decides there are too many members of staff and forces Joe to fire two people. Joe chooses a young dishwasher and a waitress Katie. The restaurant quickly falls behind. One customer even calls a pizza place. When food finally makes it out, most customers don't like it. Gordon also notices the portion sizes. Pretty much everyone has a significant amount of leftovers. Gordon tells Joe this is another contributor to his debt. Joe grows increasingly frustrated and says Gordon is embarrassing him in front of his customers.


Gordon says they have a lot of enthusiasm, but they waste a lot of money and don't know what they're doing.

Remainder of the Visit

Gordon goes to Joe's house and meets up with Joe's wife and kids. Joe's wife Melissa starts crying when talking about Joe's situation and their debt. Gordon vows to help turn it around. Gordon goes to the restaurant and gives the kitchen staff some training. He teaches them a recipe for meatballs and comes up with an idea, to make Campania known for meatballs. They go into the community to let people try them to drum up some hype.

Restaurant & Menu Remodel

Gordon's design team remodels the restaurant, complete with a new sign, and new tables and chairs. In the kitchen, Gordon has replaced the faulty kitchen equipment with equipment that worked properly. To combat the portion sizes, Gordon has also gotten new, smaller plates. Gordon makes the menu smaller and adds some new items.

Final Service

Gordon then focuses on the wait staff, and implements a menu Bingo, motivating them to sell all the different menu items, something he says he does in his own restaurants, the winner gets $100. Most of the customers enjoy the food, but one obnoxious table complains about the food loudly. Gordon comes out to the table after deciding the food was just fine, and tells them they're wrong. Joe goes into the dining room to greet the customers. This forces Gene to take complete control of the kitchen, and the kitchen slows down. Joe then visits the problem table and retreats to the kitchen. One lady from this table starts loudly complaining to anyone who would listen. This spills into the parking lot. Another customer points out that the food is good, and pointed out that despite calming to not like it, she kept eating it, and accused her(the problem customer) of just trying to get a free meal. She gets into the car with her husband but continues to yell at the problem customer. A police car rolls through the lot, and this finally ends the situation. With Joe back in the kitchen to help Gene, they catch up quickly. Josette ends up winning the menu Bingo. Joe's mother comes into the kitchen and says she is proud of both Joe and Gene. Joe has made a lot of money. Gordon compliments Gene and says he is a real head chef.

After Gordon's Departure

Campania has continued its upward trajectory and takes Gordon's changes to heart. Gene eventually left the restaurant, but Joe's stock continued to rise, as he won a chef competition in Bergen County, and was named a top 5 chef in New Jersey. However, Joe committed suicide in December 2010, jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Joe's family however did not blame Gordon or Kitchen Nightmares. Despite persistent rumors, it is unknown why Joe committed suicide. Gordon released a statement praising Joe, “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.”

Production Notes





  Kitchen Nightmares US - Restaurants
Season 1 Peter'sDillon'sThe Mixing BowlSeascapeThe Olde Stone MillSebastian'sFinn McCool'sLela'sCampaniaThe Secret Garden
Season 2 HandlebarGiuseppi'sTrobiano'sBlack PearlJ Willy'sHannah & Mason'sJack's WaterfrontSabatiello'sFiesta SunriseSante La BreaCafe 36
Season 3 Hot Potato CafeFlamangosBazziniMojitoLido di ManhattanLe BistroCasa RomaMama Rita'sAnna Vincenzo'sFlemingSushi-Ko
Season 4 Spanish PavilionClassic AmericanPJ's SteakhouseGrasshopper AlsoDavideDown CityTavoliniKingston CafeLa FriteCapriZeke'sOceana
Season 5 Blackberry'sLeone'sMike & Nellie'sLuigi's D'ItaliaBurger KitchenThe Greek at the HarborMichon'sEl GrecoPark's EdgeSpin-A-Yarn SteakhouseCharlie'sCafe HonChiarella'sZocalo
Season 6 La Galleria 33Mama Maria'sMs. Jean's Southern CuisineBarefoot Bob'sOlde Hitching Post Restaurant & TavernLevanti's Italian RestaurantSam's Mediterranean Kabob RoomNino's Italian RestaurantMill Street BistroYanni'sProhibition GrilleChappy'sAmy's Baking Company
Season 7 Pantaleone'sOld NeighborhoodKati AlloMangia MangiaZayna Flaming GrillBella Luna
Misc Revisited