Florida Foodie: Hell’s Kitchen contestant wants to bring ‘mad flava’ to Central Florida

Billy Trudsoe works as a personal chef, hopes to open his own restaurant

Billy Trudsoe spent 20 years as a chef in New York before making his way to Central Florida.

“The winters are long in the Adirondacks, so my wife and I said, ‘Why not give Florida a shot?’” Trudsoe said.


The chef came down South to work as an executive chef for a restaurant in Brevard County, but the gig did not end up working out in the long run.

“So I went all in on Hell’s Kitchen,” Trudsoe said.

Check out the Florida Foodie podcast. You can find every episode in the media player below:

Trudsoe had attempted to get on the hit reality show previously but did not make the cut on his first attempt.

“It’s a pretty grueling process — seven to eight months — and I got the phone call just before Christmas of last year, saying, ‘Hey, you made it. You need to be in LA in two weeks.’ Dreams do come true,” he said.

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Trudsoe did not ultimately end up winning in the cooking competition, but he is hoping to use his elevated profile from the show to launch his own restaurant.

“My ultimate goal is to get BTrue’s Mad Flava, the first restaurant up and going,” he said.

The name comes from Trudsoe’s days as a college athlete.

“When I was playing college basketball many moons ago, my basketball coach gave me a nickname, BTrue, so it’s stuck ever since,” he said. “And then mad flavor — when I was a young chef on Lake George, I’d always — when I’m putting the food up in the window — I’d be like ‘Mad flavor.’ You know, that was just my slogan, my slang, and it’s stuck with me ever since.”

In the meantime, while he looks for investors, Trudsoe is working as a private chef.

“I’m willing to, you know, do whatever it takes to be successful,” he said. “I’m the type of chef that likes the formal sit down and everything like that. I like to be able to talk to my patrons and get their feedback.”

On the latest episode of Florida Foodie, Trudsoe shares more about what it was like to compete on Hell’s Kitchen and meet Gordan Ramsay, who is a personal idol of the chef. He also shares how he got his start as a cook and his favorite style of cooking.

Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s book, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”

Florida Foodie is a biweekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere. Find new episodes on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.