It seems the only people who can upstage their own bizarre antics are the ones who initially staged them. It turns out that infamous reality TV food show couple Amy and Samy Bouzaglos, co-owners of Amy’s Baking Company (aka ABC Bistro), have both served time in prison for different offenses. Their restaurant, the subject of a surreal episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares show, recently reopened amid ongoing controversy, with curiosity seekers as patrons and full waitstaff turnover.
It’s been nearly three weeks since the meltdown during the show, where the owners exhibited such severe dysfunction that the celebrity chef threw in the towel. The couple fought with each other and with patrons, denied the waiters’ tips, and fired a waitress on the spot. They also provided slow service and offered questionable ingredients, such as frozen ravioli. But that didn’t stop the owners from acting out further. In response to rampant social media criticism, the couple responded with profanity laced tirades, and later said their social media accounts were hacked.
Now the twists in the tale continue. The restaurant recently re-opened, but they haven’t been able to retain any employees. There have been so many gawkers and reporters attempting to gain access that the couple have hired security guards. According to the Arizona Republic, Amy has served time in prison for misusing a social security number when she applied for a bank loan. Samy may be deported after covering up a past history involving drug distribution in Europe.
Samy, an Israeli citizen born in Morocco, recently had an immigration court hearing, continuing a removal process lasting more than two years. He is under ICE investigation for failing to disclose his past history involving drug distribution, threats and extortion on his U.S. immigration petition. International records show he’d served time in prison and is banned from entering France and Germany.
This PRNewser contributor paid a brief visit to the scene of the action in Scottsdale this past Sunday, while spending Memorial Day weekend nearby. After all, one of Samy’s posts urged people to “come to Arizona”, and here’s what we found. The bistro is located in a shopping area in a residential section of Scottsdale. The temperature neared 100 degrees. It was midday and the restaurant wasn’t open yet, so there were no guards on the premises. Still the signs in the window and other passers-by provided clues.
The fact that within a few minutes of our arrival we saw at least five sets of curiosity seekers taking photos outside the place was telling. An older couple walked by, pointing to the sign and recounting the TV show saga. A younger couple asked me to take their photo as they grimaced, then they checked into social media to tell their friends their location.
The sign posted in the window was perhaps the most revealing. It read, “We are hiring for all positions”, then listed contact information. The couple passing by said they heard that Amy had hired, then fired over 100 people within the past week alone. Alas, since the establishment wasn’t open at the time of our visit, we didn’t have the occasion to go inside and experience firsthand Amy’s or Samy’s hysterics or try any of her unique (and highly critiqued) specialties.
We’re not sure how long Amy’s Baking Company will remain open in the wake of all the negative publicity. But the nearby food joints, Pita Jungle and Coffee Plantation, are well positioned to take advantage of the additional onlookers. Based on our brief visit, it appears that Amy’s best prospect may lie in merchandising the restaurant with amusing hats and T-shirts, though that would require a sense of humor. In the longer term, we can only surmise that if Amy’s isn’t able to retain any more waitstaff, that ABC Bistro will soon stand for “All But Cooked.”