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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?"
McGarry has not been scared to face down his critics who suggest he hasn't earnt his dues, like chef David Santos, in the past, and has always empahasised that he wants to be judged for his food. With that in mind, take a look at some of the dishes at Gem here.
He also discusses his creative process and the importance of pushing the restaurant forward, in the interview, which you can watch below.