Flynn McGarry, Teenage Chef, to Join $160-a-Head Beverly Hills Restaurant
At 14 years old, Flynn McGarry is becoming a kitchen mastermind, his latest venture being the job of head chef at Beverly Hills' BierBeisl restaurant for one night next week.
McGarry started cooking at age 11, when he was tired of his mother's cooking and thought he could do better. She bought him some cookbooks, and his passion was ignited.
Now, the teenager has cooked for more than 120 people, runs a pop-up restaurant with an 18-course tasting menu, and has a long list of impressed critics and diners.
Next Wednesday, his 12-course meal night at BierBeisl has sold out, all 40 spots went for $160 a person.
McGarry has been preparing for a week and said the chef at the restaurant is supportive.
"The chef at BierBeisl is super nice and said, 'whatever you need, I'll help you cook,'" McGarry said. "I am going into this a lot more confident than other dinners. I started working on this [Thursday], running around town getting supplies. It is a week process, which people don't really realize."
His specialty is called "progressive American" and gives an experimental touch to fine dining.
Wednesday's dishes include sunchoke confit with dehydrated grapefruit, smoked sturgeon and beef with wild mushrooms, celery root, black vinegar and coffee.
After McGarry read the cookbooks his mother bought him, he took to the Internet to learn more about the art of cooking.
"I thought, every time I try it, I hope to keep getting better and better. I just fell in love with it," he said.
"My mom didn't really like cooking, and when she did cook I didn't really like her food. And I was watching something on the Food Network, and I thought, 'I could do this.'"
He said "The French Laundry" by Thomas Keller was one of his main inspirations.
"I went to the bookstore and I looked for the thickest, biggest cookbook. And I found "The French Laundry." I've always been very creative, and I wanted to create my own dishes, and I didn't know too much about it - but I would do variations from [the book] and other cookbooks and cook for family."
Once he got the hang of cooking, he decided to test his skills out on the public by launching Eureka, a supper club that has monthly dinner parties inside his home.
His mother now says she is "general manager and reluctant dishwasher."
McGarry even has his own kitchen in his bedroom.
"It started off as two tables with some gas burners, my desk and my bed," he said.
Now it has induction burners, a 10 food plating area and four cooking stations.
Eureka costs $150 per head, but his family insists they aren't in it for the money.
"It is not a moneymaking thing. We lowered the prices and we are doing more food and more expensive ingredients. We are thinking of it as a fun night," McGarry explained.
His mother is shocked at how fast he's progressed.
"He is progressing so fast and it is super overwhelming, but it is also exciting," she said. "You are always proud of your children's accomplishments. He showed such passion for this that it was an obvious choice to allow him to do what he loves to do."