Samy Bouzaglo, an Arizona restaurateur who achieved infamy with his wife after an especially embarrassing appearance by the two in an episode of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares,” has an international criminal background and could face deportation back to his native Israel, it was revealed on Wednesday.
According to the website Arizona Central, Bouzaglo, 63, is in the midst of a US immigration court case (surprisingly enough, it’s unrelated to his appearance on “Kitchen Nightmares”) over his failure, upon immigrating to the US 13 years ago, to divulge his criminal background, which allegedly includes drug trafficking and extortion. Reportedly, his activities led French and German authorities to bar him entry.
Bouzaglo was born in Morocco but is an Israeli citizen. The revelation of his criminal background is in line with some of his comments during the show, which included a retort of “I’m the gangster, not you” to Ramsay.
Bouzaglo’s wife, Amy, a 40-year-old US native, also has a criminal background, including a year-long stint in jail over a social security scam, which was revealed during the court case.
The Bouzaglos achieved instant notoriety after they appeared on Ramsay’s long-running show, which centers around the famously abrasive celebrity chef being invited to failing restaurants in an effort to turn them around — in this case, Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona.
However, the Bouzaglos’ behavior on the show, which aired May 10 and is known for caustic exchanges between Ramsay and restaurant owners, was so extreme — physical altercations, screaming, taking tips from waitresses, name-calling — that they became instant pariahs. The situation was exacerbated in the days after the episode aired as a series of incendiary and aggressive posts appeared on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
The posts were subsequently removed, with the Bouzaglos claiming that their account had been hacked.
The restaurant closed in the wake of the negative publicity, and held a grand re-opening on Tuesday, but that event was evidently sparsely attended.
If Samy does get deported back to Israel, at least some aspects of his style might stand him in good stead — he could always open a new restaurant in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, where yelling is a way of life.