Samy Bouzaglo, the co-owner of a restaurant that has been the center of controversy ever since appearing on the culinary reality TV show "Kitchen Nightmares," is facing deportation.
Scottsdale, Ariz. (AZ Central) -- The co-owner of Amy's Baking Company - a
Scottsdale restaurant that has been the center of controversy ever since
appearing on the culinary reality TV show "Kitchen Nightmares" 11 days
ago - is facing deportation.
Salomon "Samy" Bouzaglo, who owns Amy's Baking Company
along with his wife, Amy, is involved in a U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement case to revoke his residency status, his lawyer said
Tuesday. Scottsdale immigration lawyer David Asser said the case against
his client started two years ago and was the subject of a removal
Asser, speaking just hours before the Bouzaglos reopened
their embattled restaurant, said he could not comment on the case. He
also said Samy's immigration case has nothing to do with the television
show. In fact, Asser said, he has not even watched the episode that has
earned his client celebrity status.
"I didn't know they were going to go on (the show)," he said.
Amy's closed in the wake of the "Kitchen Nightmares"
episode, which aired on Fox on May 10 and showed the owners yelling and
pushing customers, taking servers' tips and firing one waitress on the
spot, calling her a "poisonous, little viper." People across the country
took to Yelp, Facebook, Reddit and other websites to express their
disgust with the Bouzaglos' actions after the show.
The Bouzaglos hope to turn around their business with a
weeklong grand reopening that began uneventfully Tuesday. The
restaurateurs said that they had more than 1,500 reservations for Amy's
this week and announced plans to donate 10 percent of the grand-opening
proceeds to the Megan Meier Foundation, which raises awareness of
On Tuesday, Amy's opened to a thin crowd and began serving
those holding reservations at 5 p.m., using security guards to prevent
gawkers, media and others without reservations from entering. The
restaurant had a sign saying its patio was closed for security reasons.
The reopening appeared to be running without incident for the first wave
of diners. Some onlookers showed up hoping to snag a reservation, but
most were turned away. The nearby Pita Jungle restaurant appeared to be
drawing more business than Amy's.
Laurie Ferrere Vermillion, a Scottsdale blogger, was among
the handful of people turned away in the restaurant's first hour
because she had no reservation. Vermillion had hoped to dine at the
restaurant Tuesday, despite discouraging reviews from her friends.
"My friends who have been (to Amy's) said, 'Don't waste
your money,'" said Vermillion, who has seen every episode of "Kitchen
Nightmares" and was shocked by the show featuring the Scottsdale
Leon Lucero, 19, said he was curious about Amy's and was hoping to get a reservation at the restaurant Tuesday night.
"Maybe this is a new start for them, a new beginning,"
said Lucero, a music major at Glendale Community College who said he
expects food at the restaurant to have improved.
Annie Dutoit, 42, who was at a nearby coffee shop, said
she had dined at Amy's with her family five or six times in the past 18
months and generally had good experiences.
She said she was surprised at the way Amy and Samy were portrayed on "Kitchen Nightmares."
"I don't know if the editing was done to show horrible things," Dutoit said.
A native of Switzerland, she said she has dined all over
the world and considered Amy's a decent restaurant. Amy did special
orders for her children, making crepes for them, Dutoit said.
She said she was surprised to hear on the show that the
servers did not get their tips and would not want to support a
restaurant that did that.
"I would go back, but I want to know what the truth is"
about Amy's, said Dutoit, adding that she is not sure what to believe
about what was shown on a reality TV show.
Tuesday's reopening capped a tumultuous week for the owners of Amy's.
The couple was supposed to hold a press conference Tuesday
at the restaurant to give their side of the story about what happened
on the "Kitchen Nightmares," suggesting the broadcast was not an
accurate depiction of their restaurant. The press conference was
abruptly canceled on Monday.
A Scottsdale public-relations firm headed by Jason Rose
explained in a news release that a law firm representing the producers
of "Kitchen Nightmares" warned the Bouzaglos against making disparaging
remarks about the show or its star, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Rose's
firm announced on Monday that it no longer would be representing the
On Tuesday, Samy and Amy talked about their past records
and indicated Samy had served time in prison before immigrating to the
United States 13 years ago. Reached by phone as they drove to their
restaurant Tuesday morning, Amy and Samy each tried to talk over the
other -- interrupting, yelling and even cursing one another as the
"We both made mistakes in the past. We have done our time," Amy said. "We can't comment. We know God is with us."
Samy said he could not talk about any past records but added he has not had any problems since immigrating to the U.S.
"The FBI knows all about me.... The IRS knows," he said.
Samy said issues surrounding his immigration status were "a sensitive subject" that he did not want to talk about Tuesday.
But he indicated that he wanted people to know that he had nothing to hide.
"I want people to know about me," he said. "But not today, not tomorrow. I have nothing to hide."
Asser, the lawyer, said Samy is an Israeli citizen and was born in Morocco.
Amy, 40, and Samy, 63, live in Gold Canyon. Before coming
to Arizona, they lived in Las Vegas. Amy also lived in Colorado and
Records show Amy has served time in federal prison and has a history of liens and judgments.
In 2003, Amy Bouzaglo pleaded guilty to misuse of a Social
Security number when she applied for a $15,000 bank loan. At the time,
her name was Amanda Bossingham. She spent about a year in prison
beginning in 2008.
Records show that prior to her conviction, Amy faced four
judgments in Colorado in 1998 and 1999 totaling about $14,000. She was
also sued in Arizona in 2000 for $3,229. The judgments appear to have
arisen from unpaid debts that were turned over to collection agencies.
She married Samy in 2004. Records show he is from Los
Angeles, where he lived upon arriving in the United States. Records
indicate he has no criminal convictions or civil judgments in the United
"I am perfectly clean," he said.