The Truth About Trenton Garvey From Hell's Kitchen: Young Guns Season 1

"That's right, I'm a muppet and I'm proud," Trenton Garvey posted to his Instagram on May 15, along with a photo of himself smiling cheerfully in his chef's whites with the caption, "Age 23, Executive Chef." Assuming Garvey is every bit as adorably self-effacing, talented, and confident as his social media pages suggest, then you might believe that is all you need to know about this young chef who competed for the blue team on the 20th season of "Hell's Kitchen," known as "Hell's Kitchen: Young Guns." Every one of the 18 chefs featured on this particular season of Gordon Ramsay's cooking competition, which premiered May 31 on Fox, was 24 or younger during the show's filming in 2019.

As we know now, however, there is much more to Trenton Garvey. On Monday, September 13, the world learned Garvey had won the first iteration of "Hell's Kitchen: Young Guns," making him the youngest ever winner of the show, per GoldDerby.

Trenton Garvey was already an executive chef

According to GoldDerby, Trenton Garvey was only 23 when he began competing on "Hell's Kitchen." But even at his young age, he had an edge over the others: He was an executive chef for two and a half years. Only one of his fellow "Young Guns" competitors, Samuel Garman, boasts a similar level of experience. As he confirmed to Mashed, he worked at The Blue Duck in St. Louis, Missouri. "I'm excited to get to represent STL for the second time in HK history," he wrote on Instagram. "I hope I do you proud!"

Those years of work at The Blue Duck were a professional crucible that resulted in dishes like the one pictured, which Garvey described in Instagram as "pork belly burnt ends, pickled celery, celery leaf." Of course, the prize dangling before him as he entered Hell's Kitchen was the opportunity to level up, since the season's winning chef will get a job as executive chef at a restaurant of host Gordon Ramsay's choosing, not to mention a cash prize of $250,000. 

Trenton Garvey was naturally disposed to do well

Of course, having the position of executive chef is not a guarantee you will do well on "Hell's Kitchen." Often there is a personality clash between the executive chef who thinks they're amazing and Gordon Ramsay hell-bent on cementing his alpha status.

However, Garvey was well-suited to the Ramsay environment. "I think one of the things that set him aside was his hunger for knowledge," Mike Palazzola, East Central College's culinary program coordinator, said in an interview. "He analyzed food a bit differently than many of the others and showed the beginning signs of many traits synonymous with leading industry chefs." However, this doesn't mean Garvey's culinary schooling was smooth sailing. "Just like Gordon Ramsay, if you messed up and didn't do it right, he was on you," Garvey said of his teacher, chef Ted Hirschi.

These characteristics can be seen in Foodsided's description of Garvey's performance on the show. At first, he was one of those more invisible characters, competent enough to largely avoid Ramsay's swearing but not so brilliant as to deserve fawning, either. As episodes passed, though, he began to win Ramsay's praise during the black coat challenges. Such a trajectory always puts you in Ramsay's good books and surely helped set Garvey for the win in the final showdown. 

Many new chapters are opening for him

As you might imagine, winning "Hell's Kitchen" and securing a post at one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants is a life-changing event. But for Trenton Garvey, just being on the show at all shook his world. "I had never really left the two states I lived in, Missouri and Arkansas," he admitted to GoldDerby in an interview. In addition to that, he proposed to his girlfriend on the show immediately upon learning of his win (via YouTube). According to The Knot, they have since married. So, a local boy has left the state, obtained an incredibly prestigious job, and got married, all in the span of a couple years.

However, he managed keep the sudden swell of success from distracting him for the two years between winning the series and the public revelation that he had won. "It was such a small part of why I do this," he said to Emissourian after the episode in which he acquired the black jacket aired. Instead, he focused on the bigger picture, which was being a professional chef and pushing his team ever forward into an exciting future. "I'm a little apprehensive and nervous because it is the biggest move that I've ever done in my life," he told Foodsided, "but I'm excited and ready for it."