Next up on Kitchen Nightmares – Campania, an Italian restaurant located at 15-17 Broadway in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
Campania is named for the Campania region of Italy, home of Naples and the original pizza. Chef / Owner Joe Cerniglia seems like one of the first U.S. Kitchen Nightmares chefs with a real restaurant pedigree. He even seems to be something of a minor ‘celebrity chef’…
Joe Cerniglia began his restaurant career at the famed Gallagher’s Steak House in NYC at the age of 23. A self-taught chef, Cerniglia soon became the executive chef of the landmark steakhouse Gallagher’s. From there, he became the vice president of operations, both nationally and internationally.
During his time with Gallagher’s Steakhouse, Cerniglia soon became known as a guru for all things concerning grilling, making regular appearance on national and local television shows such as the Fox News Channel, Good Day New York, WOR 11, NBC and a host of other radio and print productions.
Cerniglia regularly gives live cooking demonstrations at Chef Central in Paramus and Macy’s at Herald Square in New York City.
And the reviews of Campania that I’ve found are all good, although one or two do mention slow service, but not in a complaining way. Here’s a review from over a year ago – so there’s no ‘pre-Nightmares’ BS – but recent reviews are just as excellent.
By far the best Italian food in New Jersey!: The food here is absolutely outstanding. My fiance and I had heard about it a few months ago and first visited on a Saturday night – the (young) chef/owner is absolutetly brilliant at pasta – we had his homemade raviolis filled with braised veal and sage in a mascarpone brodo – heaven! A couple sitting next to us knew the owner personally and told us that he makes his own fresh mozzarella and pasta every day, along with a huge variety of seasonal dishes. We’ve since been back quite a few times and the food is just as exciting on each visit. If you like fish, the chef always highlights an exotic and totally fresh fish preparation – I had a piece of halibut baked under parchment paper with mussels and clams. The waiter presented it to us tableside and removed the parchment – this may have been the best piece of fish I’ve ever eaten (the parchment allowed the fish to steam and absorb the flavors and aromas of the herbs). The menu is extremely varied with an emphasis on food from the Campania regiion in Italy. Hint – this place gets packed on the weekends – go on a weeknight if you like a quieter dinner.
Huh. Packed house, great food – not much of a Nightmare really, is it? It will be interesting to see how they portray the restuarant. I think it actually could be pretty positive, unless Fox sticks to their stupid script. The preview videos on Fox’s website show Ramsay actually defending the chef – by attacking a customer. Bet she was paid…
Here’s an interesting related video and hey! It’s Chef Gordon Ramsay actually making food, something we rarely see in the U.S. It’s Ramsay milking a buffalo and making the first true Buffalo Mozzarella in Scotland. (Think water buffalo, not bison.) The clip includes fast driving, thick accents and the word ‘knackered’. Brilliant…