Gordon Ramsay Curse — Contestants That Have Tragically Died Since Working With Him

Samantha Agate
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Chef Gordon Ramsay may rival Simon Cowell when it comes to making brash comments to reality show contestants. But, there is great tragedy behind some of his reality cooking shows that have people questioning whether or not working with Gordon is cursed.

Rachel Brown Died After Working With Gordon Ramsay On ‘Hell’s Kitchen’

Rachel Brown was a contestant that came in seventh place on season two of Hell’s Kitchen. She was known for being ambitious and even volunteering to go up for elimination multiple times. She later came back in the finale to assist winner Heather West. When she was 41 years old, Rachel was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in May 2007 in her family’s Dallas home. Her death raised many questions about how being on reality television affects your mental health. “They have many wounded and clinically challenged people on these shows, and they are not able to cope with what happens afterward” Dr. Jamie Huysman, a Miami psychologist said.

SEE ALSO: Kori Sutton Wins ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ Seventh Consecutive Female Winner

Keith Greene Tragically Passed Away After Appearing On The Show

Keith Greene came in third on season two of Hell’s Kitchen. Infamously, he was the first contestant to ever confront Gordon at an elimination. His personality was larger than life. He famously said “I’ll cook my shoe, and Gordon Ramsay will eat it and love it” during his debut on the show. After his appearance on the show, he became the head chef at Schmidt’s Market in Southampton Village and Schmidt’s Seafood Market in North Sea. Keith also got married and became a father and was well known around his community for always helping people out when they needed it the most. At the age of 35, Keith drowned on a beach in Southampton Village.

Aaron Song Had To Withdraw From Hell’s Kitchen After Collapsing On Set

Aaron Song finished in 10th place on season three of Hell’s Kitchen. He was the oldest contestant competing on that season at 48. After losing a challenge, his team was punished by prepping 1000 pounds of potatoes and onions. While trying to complete the task, Aaron collapsed on the ground and lost consciousness. His fellow teammates were worried for his health and called for a medic. He was taken to the hospital by an ambulance. Gordon called Aaron to let him no he could no longer continue on in the compeittion due to his ongoing health probblems. After his appearance on the show, Aaron had a career as a celebrity chef. He also gave cooking demonstrations and held classes for army veterans to teach them how to cook. On November 30, 2010, he passed away as a result of diabetes complications at 51.

SEE ALSO: ‘BGT’ Judge David Walliams Cooks With ‘MasterChef’ Gordon Ramsay

Luis Petrozza Fought A Battle With Lung Cancer

Luis Petrozza was the runner up of season four of Hell’s Kitchen. He was known as being one of the nicest and kind-hearted contestants in the entire franchise. Luis had a rocky start during the first few episodes of the show but was able to find his stride to take him all the way to the finale. “I’m very glad that I did it, that I had the experience.  I’m also glad that it’s over.  Now I’m excited to open up a new chapter in my life” he said of his time on the show. After appearing on the show, Luis continued his cooking career as Executive Chef at the Acorn Pub & Eatery in the Oak Mountain Ski Resort, in Speculator, New York. On November 15, 2019, he, unfortunately, passed away due to complications with lung cancer.

Jessica Vogel Sadly Passed Away After Working With Gordon Ramsay

Jessica Vogel came in 12th place on season 12 of Hell’s Kitchen. She participated in the first-ever Cook For Your Life Challenge and is the first contestant ever to be eliminated after doing so. She also appeared on Cutthroat Kitchen. Jessica died at the age of 34 from colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease in 2018. Jessica started a blog after her time on the show where she wrote “I’m weeks away from 34 years old and got told I drink too much and have cirrhosis. Did it stop me from pouring shots of alcohol? Nope” which led many to wonder if she had a drinking problem. Before her death, she was planning on opening a restaurant with her fiancé, John Michael Keyser.

Paul “Paulie” Giganti Died From A Drug Overdose

Paul “Paulie” Giganti finished in fourth place on season 16 of Hell’s Kitchen. He held an impressive challenge record during his time on the show but was ultimately eliminated due to his lack of leadership. “I’ll look back on things with a smile. The whole experience was a good life experience. I was happy to do it, and it was cool” he said about his time on the show. After his appearance on the show, he returned to his position as Executive Chef at the restaurant he owned, Birra. He died of an accidental drug overdose in his Philly home in 2017 at the age of 36.


Joseph Cerniglia Was The Second Suicide After Working With Gordon Ramsay

Joseph Cerniglia was featured on Kitchen Nightmares in 2009. The father of three was not afraid to be outspoken or talk back to Gordon. He was $80,000 in debt at the time of the taping. While he butted heads with Gordon during filming, but at the end of the episode, the pair were able to make amends. Even after the taping with Gordon’s help trying to save the restaurant, he was still in debt. In 2010, the father of three jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey. “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” Gordon said in a statement.

Josh Marks Also Had A Shocking Death That Rocked the MasterChef Franchise

Josh Marks was the runner-up on the third season of MasterChef. He showed off his immense passion for cooking and everyone fell in love with his gentle soul. But it became very apparent that the stress of being on the show led his mental health to decline. He was diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and in an altercation with police, Josh made comments that he was possessed by Gordon Ramsay. In October 2013, his mother was driving home in Chicago when she received a frantic call that Josh was outside holding a gun. She hoped to find him but was too late. She discovered that he had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.


Reading all of these tragic stories, it makes you wonder if being on such a high caliber reality show leads to more stress and anxieties. There have been three suicides after working with Gordon Ramsay and it definitely raises concerns for mental health after competing on these shows. While some reality talent competitions have mental health resources available for contestants, it definitely is something that needs to be talked about more openly. You can find more resources about this here.

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