Some kids like to help their parents in the kitchen, but Flynn McGarry takes it a step further. McGarry
has been cooking since he was 10 years old, teaching himself the
basics from cookbooks and the internet. At the tender age of 11
1/2, he began hosting a supper club, where chefs and celebrities
now pay $160 per person to eat what McGarry calls "progressive
A recent meal, described in the The New York Times
Magazine article linked above, contained creative courses like
ember-roasted carrot gelee with smoked egg yolk served alongside
compressed mango, pickled mustard seeds and coffee-pickled carrots.
Another menu item was Beet Wellington (no, that's not a typo) made
with roasted beets and a mushroom duxelle wrapped in puff
pastry and served with creamed sorrel and a beet bordelaise
sauce. It's enough to give someone who's been cooking
for years an inferiority complex.
Parents often indulge their kids' obsessions by
buying chemistry sets or sports equipment, but McGarry's
parents easily topped that. They built a kitchen in his bedroom to
resemble the one at Alinea in Chicago. As you
might expect, his parents aren't a traditional 9-to-5 suburban
couple; McGarry's mother is a former NBC executive and his father
is a professional photographer.
While there's a lot of attention being paid to McGarry's age,
cooking has long been a craft started young. European restaurants
frequently take on apprentices who are 15 to 16 years
old. But instead of toiling away peeling carrots while waiting for
his turn to move up, McGarry, who is homeschooled, spends over 160
hours per month cooking in his family's home near San
Whether McGarry will fulfill his dream of opening a
Michelin-starred restaurant remains to be seen. He's turned down a
few reality TV show offers, but a book and a possible travel series
are in the works. Perhaps EYB will soon have a cookbook authored by
McGarry to index. What do you think of this chef prodigy?
Photo courtesy The New York Times Magazine