Daring Origins: Flynn McGarry, Teen Gastronomist
At just 17 years old, Los Angeles-born chef Flynn McGarry is already heading his own experimental pop-up dining experience. And it is booked solid. Garnished with meticulous details, his dishes are both technical and progressive.
Before he had even reached middle school, Flynn decided he would become a chef. “When I was around 10, I thought about how I wanted to eat things other than what my parents were cooking.” Age 11, he launched a supper club from his mother’s living room after perfecting a few recipes from his favorite cookbook.
Since then, Flynn has been cultivating his skills in distinguished kitchens around the globe. At 16 years old, he took advantage of an opportunity to secure a restaurant space in New York’s West Village three nights out of the week.
Flynn quickly got to work and opened Eureka NYC—a sold out pop-up residency where he first served his bold, 14-course tasting menu. In little time, Flynn has amassed a following and a great deal of accolade. While the now accomplished chef recognizes the opportunity afforded to him by his supporters, his rise to culinary acclaim has not been met without criticism. His adversaries attribute his success to his privileged upbringing, but Flynn assures them that everything was made possible through hard work and dedication.
Others seem to associate Flynn’s age with a lack of experience. “The fact the media even calls him a chef offends me to no end,” one chef explains. “Chef is something you earn […] it’s not about playing dress up and plating a couple dishes.” But Flynn perseveres in the face of skepticism, channeling the risk of failure into a force that drives him forward. As he expands the Eureka experience to new cities, he plans to convert skeptics into believers with plates that prove his competence.
With the successful NYC pop-up residency behind him, 17-year-old Flynn plans to take Eureka to entirely new cities. From March 1 to 4, he will cook two, 10-course meals every night in the San Francisco Bay Area. Guests can expect unique interpretations of modern cuisine, including sea urchin cured in seawater and aged beet with bordelaise.
The young chef continues to follow his ambition of opening “one of the best restaurants in the world.” While he considers his own goal to be beyond reach, he believes it drives him forward and hopes this attitude will inspire others to accomplish feats they never thought were possible.