Billy Trudsoe is a contestant.
He was a tri-sport athlete at North Warren in Chestertown where he played football, basketball and baseball. His senior basketball team won a Division II title and he scored over 1,000 points in his career.
“I scored my 1,000th point at the Civic Center on a three late in the half in the Division II game,” said Trudsoe, 40. “So yeah, even though I’m playing winks, I’m here to win.”
Trudsoe will need that ambitious spirit when he takes part in season 21 of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen Battle of the Ages,” which premieres at 8 p.m. on September 29 on the Fox network.
The show pits chefs in their 20s against chefs in their 40s, in a battle to win the job of head chef at the new Hell’s Kitchen restaurant in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
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Trudsoe has over 25 years of experience in the kitchen, since he was a 13 year old boy living in Chestertown. He has spent most of his career cooking at Lake George restaurants including The Algonquin, The Chateau on the lake and Blue Water Manor.
“You might find some of my recipes still floating around in these kinds of places,” said the chef, who has lived in Bolton Landing for more than 20 years.
In 2021 he moved to Florida with his wife and worked as an executive chef at Ocean 302 in Melbourne Beach, Florida, but quit that job after nine months due to what he called a ‘soft break’ with management. Since then, he devotes his time to “Hell’s Kitchen”.
“I just said, heck with that, I’m going to do everything in ‘Hell’s Kitchen,'” Trudsoe said. ” I hope it will work. I cross my fingers, I say my prayers.
He had auditioned for the show several years ago, but was not cast.
After visiting family in the Adirondacks last summer, his flight was delayed and, while sitting at Albany International Airport, he decided to apply for a spot in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. .
He shot a 3-minute audition video while sitting in a face mask at Albany airport.
After “a pretty grueling six or seven month process” of interviews and auditions, he was selected as one of the 40-year-old candidates. He got the call just before Christmas that he was on the blue team.
“I just went crazy,” he said. “I lost it. I was like wow, it’s just amazing. Over twenty-five years of a career as a chef, and then all of a sudden I can go to work for my idol.
In a promo for the TV show on Twitter, Blue Team sous chef Jason Santos described Trudsoe as a “fat rhino running around the kitchen.”
“I’m telling you, the guy’s personality is larger than life,” Santos says in the promo.
The next scene shows Gordon Ramsey swearing and yelling at Trudsoe.
“To be enlightened by Chief Ramsay like that, you know, it’s kind of a bittersweet moment,” he said. “Maybe we’ll make a good meme out of it.”
Trudsoe plans to watch the September 29 premiere at the Melby Hotel in Florida and will host a party there from 6-10 p.m.
He’s hosting a viewing party for the second episode at the Bolton Landing Brewery Company from 6-11 p.m. on October 6.
The competitive Trudsoe is a longtime fan of the rambunctious Gordon Ramsay.
“I made the transition to cooking, my sport,” he said. “Standing side by side and having Gordon Ramsay try my food, crow jeezum, it’s such a surreal feeling. Still today, I have to pinch myself and think, “Am I still dreaming?”
Trudsoe promises the show will provide plenty of entertainment, drama, and bubbly laughs.
“I’ve been Gordon for a long time,” Trudsoe said. “The chef ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’ is my favorite show of all time, but now of course it’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.”
Trudsoe worked to build his brand. He has followers on Facebook @btruesmadflava and on Instagram at Adkchef. He also has his own website www.btrues.com.
He would eventually like to start his own global restaurant franchise. The ultimate goal of the show is to be a chef in one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants.
“To be able to work for the Culinary GOAT (greatest of all time), what an opportunity,” he said, “especially for a peasant from Chestertown, New York, sticks.”
Gretta Hochsprung writes features and news from her hometown. She can be reached at 518-742-3206 or [email protected]