The truth about Marc Quinones from Hell's Kitchen season 19

With $250,000 and a job at Gordon Ramsay's spectacular Hell's Kitchen restaurant in Lake Tahoe, Nev. on the line, the 18 contestants of Hell's Kitchen Season 19 are ready to compete and put up with whatever the notoriously hot-headed chef and reality star (and soon to be game show host and producer) Ramsay throws their way.

Long-time fans will notice that 2021's season is different in that it does not take place on a soundstage, as it has in previous years, but in an actual restaurant for the first time. In fact, it takes place in Ramsay's popular restaurant at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, named for his massively successful show, Hell's Kitchen, where chef's whites are actually red and blue (as in the team colors from the show) and the decor features pitchforks and other touches that allude to the underworld.

Season 19 of the Fox reality show has some greatly talented chef-contestants from all corners of the country. One of them is Marc Quiñones, who is well-versed in the reality cooking show arena, having appeared on the Food Network's Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen, according to his employer, Hilton Curio Collection's Hotel Andaluz in Albuquerque, N.M., where Quiñones draws inspiration from his Puerto Rican roots as the AAA Four-Diamond destination's executive chef.

Volunteering and running keep Marc Quinones busy

Marc Quiñones' early life was not easy. Born in the tough borough of the Bronx in New York City when his mom was just 14, Quiñones shares with Gordon Ramsay, in episode one of this season's Hell's Kitchen, "I always had to work to put money in my pocket. But I'm a fighter. I'll do whatever it takes."

It's this high-energy, inspired side of his personality that Quiñones likely brings to his volunteer work in jail and prison ministry. On his LinkedIn page, Quiñones writes: "Every Thursday Morning I go into the New Mexico Jails/Prisons and spend 3 hours speaking with inmates about the word of God." Quiñones also volunteers with the Cooking with Kids program in Albuquerque where he teaches cooking and healthy eating principles to elementary school students.

Quiñones himself was fresh out of school when he started working in restaurants, according to Hotel Andaluz. He's since worked in L.A., Hawaii, and alongside acclaimed chef John Besh at Restaurant August in New Orleans.

Where does Quiñones get the energy to do it all? In 2017, Quiñones was 65 pounds heavier than he is now. He became an avid runner, and his wife Lysa and their children, Truth and Journey, run with him. His separate Instagram account, @chefmqtherunner, documents his fitness journey. OK, Marc, you've inspired us!