What It Was Like To Keep Winning Hell's Kitchen A Secret For 2 Years - Exclusive

The season finale of "Hell's Kitchen: Young Guns" was a nail-biter — all of the other contestants had been eliminated, and it was down to Megan Gill and Trenton Garvey. And the winner was ... Garvey! Who, tuning in from a Las Vegas watch party, was not actually surprised. Why? Because the 25-year-old newbie chef (who also proposed to his girlfriend during the finale, via Eater) already knew the outcome — in fact, the news was two years old. That's because "Hell's Kitchen" was one of several Fox shows that had their airing schedules delayed due to the pandemic, according to TVLine.

So what's it like to have to hold your tongue about the biggest thing that ever happened to you, for years? In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Garvey was finally able to let loose about what it felt like to win. "It was brutal, keeping it secret and not being able to talk about it, not let people know," he confessed. "It's insane to even wrap my brain around it! When it happened, it was amazing, of course. But having to wait two years to be able to share it with everybody — that's a whole other element of complication to it!"

Garvey hopes winning 'Hell's Kitchen' will give him more credibility as a chef

Winning "Hell's Kitchen" isn't just about bragging rights — or the fabulous grand prize of getting to be head chef at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Las Vegas. For Garvey, who is significantly younger than many of his culinary colleagues, the title also offers credibility. "I just wanted people [I worked with] to know," Garvey said. "There were certain things like, 'I only do this and I only have these ideas like this, because Gordon Ramsay taught me like this.'" Since he was just a recent cooking school graduate, his co-workers weren't always willing to let him "coach and hone people, and let them grow from the golden nuggets of information that I have, and let them know exactly like, 'We do this, because this is the best way to do this.' Because you get a lot of flak, being a 23-year-old executive chef! People don't want to listen to you."

Now that the news is out, however, Garvey expects his authority to skyrocket. "If you've been taught by Gordon Ramsay on how to cook, especially risotto and a lot of very specific things, you have some type of accolades behind your name, to be able to say, 'Yeah, this is how you do it,'" he explained. "And I've been waiting just to be able to [ say to] my staff now, to just to be like, 'Yeah, you guys get to learn this because I know this!'"

Be sure to tune into "Hell's Kitchen" on Fox. You can keep up with Trenton Garvey's latest culinary adventures by following him on Instagram.