In a new interview, controversial 19-year-old chef Flynn McGarry, who recently opened his first restaurant Gem, on New York's Lower East Side, has taken a shot at his critics, asking them to judge him on his food, not his age.
Speaking to Fast Company, McGarry, who started hosting pop-ups aged 11 and has staged at restaurants like Eleven Madison Park and Alinea, says he is tired of lazy comparisons to Justin Bieber and Gem is a way to finally prove to the doubters that he is serious about a career as a chef.
"The only way to solidify my career is to do something permanent," he says. "If I take something as a restaurant and make it essentially myself, maybe the focus will be more on that."
McGarry also hits back at those who claim he charges too much: it's $155 for a twelve course meal, excluding drinks, at Gem, while aged 15 he was charging $150 per head for a pop-up. "I've had terrible meals cooked by 50-year-olds, I don't think that's an age thing ... you either know how to cook or you don't, " he says. "We have the same labour costs, the same rent, the same ingedients ... if you can get an incredible meal cooked by people this young, why would you not want that?"