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May 28th, 2014
Teen Chef Charging $150 For NYC Pop-Up Dinners
Some deride teenagers as good-for-nothing layabouts making no contribution to society; but that's forgetting their aptitude for emerging technologies, their sense of fun and their willingness to think outside the box.
And while some may be looking for the easy way out, others are so self-assured they want you to lay down $150 a person to eat a single meal they’ve prepared. Such is the case with 15-year-old Flynn McGarry, a teen chef and, who put on a two-night pop-up restaurant in NYC last month called Eureka.
Flynn may be a precocious teen now but he actually started his much-written about supper club out of his parent's home in California when he was 12. Before that, he was just an average kid reading haute cuisine cookbooks and adopting sous vide cooking methods. McGarry mused about his future, saying he would "move to New York at 17, work at Eleven Madison Park or somewhere like it for a year, maybe a year and a half, and then start work on his restaurant by 19." You know, just average teen stuff.Now McGarry took his talents to NYC, with a two night pop-up on May 19th and 20th at Creative Edge Parties, a high-end catering company. Tickets for the eight course tasting menu ran $150 per person plus tax and gratuity. If you wanted the wine pairing it was another $60 or $20 for a non-alcoholic pairing. The 15-year-old cooked his eight-course tasting menu.
At the age of ten, Flynn McGarry wanted to cook. He began practicing his knife skills afterschool, and then soon after started creating dishes, simple at first, for a few of his mother's friends. At eleven, came the purchase of Thomas Keller's The French Laundry cookbook, then Grant Achatz's Alinea. The influence was immediate. Flynn's dish components became more complicated, sous vide cooking was adopted and tweezers were now a must for plating. By thirteen, Flynn McGarry and his monthly supper club EUREKA operating out of his home with a small staff, served up to twenty guests a tasting menu of anywhere from eight to fourteen courses of progressive American cuisine. After EUREKA became the subject of a New Yorker Talk of the Town piece, "Prodigy," Chef John Sedlar invited Flynn to serve his expanding mailing list at his restaurant Playa for a night serving 120 guests. At fourteen, Flynn's supper club EUREKA began to pop up monthly at BierBeisl with the support of chef/owner Bernhard Mairinger and his team for close to a year.
Besides running EUREKA, Flynn began apprenticing at Ray's and Stark Bar at LACMA, then went on to stage at Three Michelin Starred Eleven Madison Park and Alinea, as well as at Next in Chicago, Modernist Cuisine in Seattle and most recently at Alma in L.A. When in New York, Flynn continues his stage at Eleven Madison Park under Chef Daniel Humm. These culinary experiences have enriched Flynn's unique talent, as well as being a product of the Internet, which allows him to be inspired by chefs all over the world.
Flynn McGarry is being called everything from culinary prodigy to "the country's hottest chef." On his itinerary for the summer: after interning for Grant Achatz at Next and Alinea in Chicago, Modernist Cuisine's Food Lab in Seattle, McGarry plans to finish 8th grade.
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