Trenton Garvey, Hell’s Kitchen Season 20 winner, grew his cooking confidence, interview

In the finale, Trenton Garvey earned the title of Hell’s Kitchen Season 20 winner. While the Southern chef might have stayed away from the drama in this Hell’s Kitchen Young Guns season, Trenton let his food, flavor and execution speak for him. Building his confidence challenge after challenge, he paved the way for the ultimate victory.

As the first chef to make the Hell’s Kitchen Young Guns finale dinner service, Trenton seemed to be on a roll. Although he might have stayed under the radar for the first part of the season, he soared as the finale approached. Having won two black jacket challenges not to mention impressing the judges in the five course dinner challenge, it was clear that Trenton was the one to beat.

During a recent conversation with Trenton, he revealed that when he started the culinary competition, “I had very little confidence in myself.” But, he always wanted to learn. He said, “I’m going to show up. I’m going to learn because that’s what I love about cooking is just how much there is to learn.”

Throughout the season, it was clear that Trenton learned. From listening to constructive criticism to earning praise from Gordon Ramsay, it was clear that he was taking this opportunity seriously. His passion for his culinary career is ingrained.

Still, Trenton admitted that having been to culinary school might have given him a better understanding of the kitchen brigade style that Gordon Ramsay runs. Trenton shared, “When I went to culinary school, I knew very, very little about cooking, almost nothing. I felt out of place and I had such anxiety every day. But, I think that helped pave something for me, a foundation of understanding.”

While Hell’s Kitchen Season 20 was labeled Hell’s Kitchen Young Guns, the reality is that as an under 25-year-old chef, Trenton is well versed in food and flavor. He shared how he studies cookbooks and devours all the knowledge in those pages. That information helps him better appreciate which flavors build on each other and how to compose dishes.

Trenton shared that one of his most influential cookbooks is Heritage by Sean Brock. He said, “it was the first cookbook that he received from my executive chef boss out of culinary school.” As a cookbook that he has read extensively, Trenton appreciates how it “brings backs old Southern recipes and elevates traditional Southern hotel fare.”

As seen in the Hell’s Kitchen Season 20 finale, Trenton was able to combine humble ingredients with elevated flavors and plating. His trout dish was a prime example of that thoughtfulness.

When speaking about the trout dish, Trenton said “the trout is like such a homage to like where I came from growing up. It was a reminder to the bonding time where my dad and I would go fishing. It is a dish that is very close to my heart, and it brought me joy being able to share that dish with people.”

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Although that dish blended his roots and his future, Trenton said that his approach to his food is generally New American cuisine. In his role as executive chef, he featured “New American cuisine with blended global flavors.”

Still, Trenton admitted that he never wants to hide where he comes from. As he shared, “my mom made down-home cooking. She can make a mean squirrel.”

While that protein might not be on the restaurant menu, the reality is that Trenton’s food is “elevated Southern food.” At its heart, that comfort food tells a story of past, present and future.

Which chef did Trenton Garvey, the Hell’s Kitchen Season 20 winner, bond with the most?

As many people have commented, Hell’s Kitchen is a pressure cooker of culinary competition. Working and living in such tight quarters can be stressful, but Trenton handled the pressure with ease.

Trenton admitted that this time to focus and talk about food was beneficial to him. He said that “everyone just talked about food. We didn’t have TV or phones. We had our recipe books, and we would talk about how to make recipes better. It was a really great time being able to spend time just talking with fellow chefs about food.” It was an opportunity that he greatly appreciated.

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One fellow contestant that bonded with was Antonio. He shared that the two of them would spend a lot of time just talking about food. In some ways, that decision to just stay away from the drama and focus on the end goal helped Trenton to succeed.

As his confidence grew throughout the season, Trenton appreciated every supportive word. From Gordon Ramsay pulling him aside and praising his efforts to being hyper focused, achieving the goal of Hell’s Kitchen Season 20 winner was within reach. Like Trenton said, “I wanted the opportunity, I wanted to be pushed, and I made the most from that opportunity.”

What did Trenton Garvey take away from the Hell’s Kitchen Season 20 winner experience?

Since Trenton has had the opportunity to be mentored by other chefs, he understands that it is his duty to continue to help others. When asked about mentoring, he spoke poignantly.

Trenton said, “you want your staff to be better than you and you want to raise them up.” Working in a restaurant, a chef “never stops learning.” He believes that chefs should “never take any of the lessons for granted. All those tips are little golden nuggets of information that are passed on.”

And, what is next for Trenton Garvey, the Hell’s Kitchen Season 20 winner? The day after the finale aired, he was heading to the Gordon Ramsay Steak 2.0 at the Paris in Las Vegas. He is excited about the opportunity to start the new position and see what it holds.

For the chef who had never been on a plane at the start of this experience to now moving his family to Las Vegas and embarking on a new culinary career, Trenton has gained more than just a few golden nuggets of information. He has earned a culinary opportunity that could open doors for a long time to come.

Even though Trenton admitted that “I’m a little apprehensive and nervous because it is the biggest move that I’ve ever done in my life, but I’m excited and ready for it.” And, the Gordon Ramsay team is ready to welcome him into the organization.

 

In the end, Hell’s Kitchen Young Guns proved that age is just a number. The desire to learn and pursue culinary achievement is within anyone’s grasp. Maybe next season, some older generation chefs will get their second career opportunity.