17-year-old prodigy chef Flynn McGarry on fine dining, kitchen disasters, and Pokémons

17-year-old prodigy chef Flynn McGarry on fine dining, kitchen disasters, and Pokémons


Text: Denise Kok

Image: Regent Taipei; Instagram | @diningwithflynn; Phaidon

In McGarry's kitchen, age is just a number

Your average 17-year-old teenage boy might be binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix, swiping right on Tinder, and hoarding Pokémons in between. But Flynn McGarry isn't your average teen. He has helmed his own pop-up supper club, Eureka, in L.A.; graced the covers of The New York Times Magazine, and honed his culinary skills at top fine dining restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park and Alinea. 

From 1 to 3 September 2016, McGarry will take over Robin's Grill at the Regent Taipei, presenting diners in this part of the world with a taste of contemporary American cuisine touched with local ingredients from Taiwan. Whether you opt for a five-course lunch or eight-course dinner, one thing remains: McGarry's sophisticated take on fine dining belies his tender age of 17. 

Flynn McGarry

Thomas Keller's The French Laundry and Grant Achatz's Alinea exerted a strong influence on your style of cooking when you were 11. Which cookbooks have the same impact on your cooking today?

Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook and Noma both have incredible impacts on my cooking today.

NOMA the cookbook

What do you love and hate about fine dining?

I love the attention to detail in every aspect of it and I hate the perception that fine dining can only be pretentious and without any fun elements.

Flynn McGarry

Favourite albums to play in the kitchen?

Kanye West's The Life of Pablo and Tame Impala's Currents get us hyped up before service.

Tell us about the stories behind your tattoos.

I'm probably one of the only chefs that doesn't have tattoos. If I ever get any, I don't think they would be related to cooking.

Flynn McGarry

Your worst kitchen disaster thus far?

Messing up a sponge cake eight times in a restaurant before getting it right.

The best advice anyone has given you as chef?

Think of your life as you would with your cooking. Everything needs to be thoughtful and balanced.

Flynn McGarry

Pokémons. Do you catch them all?

I tried to catch them all, but that lasted one day and then I had to get back to work.