ST. LOUIS – The executive chef at a popular Maplewood restaurant will be on national TV next week as he competes in the next season of Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Trent Garvey has been working at The Blue Duck for six years and he’s only 25.
This season’s show features “Young Guns.” They were all up-and-coming chefs under the age of 23 at the time. It was filmed two years ago and at the time Chef Garvey had just taken on the role of executive chef at the restaurant.
Garvey, lovingly referred to as Chef Gravy by his coworkers, didn’t think he’d hear back from the casting agent. He said he was shocked when the phone rang two hours later. A series of Skype calls followed.
“It was crazy, one day they called me and said,’Hey, we need to see you in LA tomorrow, like your flight is at 7am.’ “
Garvey said he’s never been on a plane before and had only traveled to Missouri, Arkansas, and Illinois. He even said he had to Google ‘How to fly on a plane.’”
After that trip, there was more waiting. He finally got the call that he’d been cast while sitting on the riverfront in Washington, Mo.
“I saw this as an awesome opportunity, you can go get honed, see if what I self taught myself is actually working,” explained Garvey.
He remembers being in awe the first time he met Ramsay and said he also was surprised at how tall he was in person.
Garvey said Ramsay didn’t go easy on them and can’t reveal too much yet about what the chef thought about his cooking.
He says the biggest thing he learned from Ramsay was keep it simple.
“He finds these really awesome ingredients like his Thumbelina carrots, rutabagas, all these ingredients he had sourced, that were all just super good. None of them are super manipulated, they were just really good really fresh ingredients that were cooked properly,” said Garvey.
He has taken that simplicity back to The Blue Duck. He also says he tries to keep putting himself on the plate.
Garvey grew up in Rogers, Arkansas and says his mother would often cook from scratch.
He would go fishing for catfish as a kid. That memory inspired his catfish and grits dish. The grits even come from a mill his grandfather helped rebuild in the area.
Another item that is close to home for Garvey is his grilled corn. He says growing up, his mother would always try and find the sweetest corn in the summer.
Chef Garvey went to culinary school at East Central College. While in school, he started working at The Blue Duck slicing bread.
He moved to Union when he was about 13 and his first job was at a Kentucky Friend Chicken. He used the opportunity to get better.
“I would look up old Col. Sanders tutorials and cooking videos and doing it like he does, pulling the skin over, twisting them so they get extra crispy,” recalled Garvey.
One day he hopes to open his own restaurant, but for now will just keep on learning.