CULINARY PRODIGY

November 15, 2018 at 5:00 am

Chef Flynn McGarry shares his adventures in gastronomy and his journey from boy cook to master chef.

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Aired on November 14, 2018.

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>> HE BEGAN COOKING AT AGE 10,
FOUNDED A RESTAURANT LEVEL
SUPPER CLUB AT HIS L.A. HOME AT
AGE 12, SCORED A "NEW YORK
TIMES" MAGAZINE COVER STORY AT
15 AND OPENED HIS OWN RESTAURANT
IN MANHATTAN AT 19.
CHEF FLYNN McGARRY IS THE MOZART
OF HUB CUISINE AND THE STORY OF
HIS IMPROBABLE RISE IN THE
AMERICAN CULINARY SCENE IS
CAPTURED IN A NEW DOCUMENTARY
SIX YEARS IN THE MAKING TITLED
APPROPRIATELY ENOUGH "CHEF
FLYNN."
HERE IS A LOOK.
>> THE INGREDIENTS ARE LAID OUT
BUT WE CAN'T SEEM TO FIND THE
CHEF.
HERE HE COMES.
EXCUSE ME.
CHEF FLYNN.
>> I HAVE FOUR, TWO VIP.
>> AND GET MY MOTHER OUT OF THE
DINING ROOM.
>> WE HAVE A WRITER FROM "THE
NEW YORK TIMES" COMING.
HE TOLD US YOU NEED TO BE
PREPARED FOR WHAT'S GOING TO
HAPPEN.
NONE OF THE PRESS I'VE ASKED
FOR.
>> AT WHAT AGE DO YOU THINK YOU
WILL BECOME A REGULAR CHEF?
>> I THINK I'M NEARING THAT
POINT.
>> HE WANTS TO BE TAKEN
SERIOUSLY.
>> THIS PRESSURE IS PART OF THIS
BUSINESS.
>> I NEED ONE MORE SET OF HANDS.
I NEED HANDS!
>> HE WANTS THE TOP OF THE GAME
AND THAT'S FINE DINING.
§
§
>> I DON'T THINK ANY OF THIS
WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF I HAD A
VERY TRADITIONAL MOM.
THERE IS A HUGE PART OF IT
THAT'S LETTING ME DO MY ONLY
THING.
>> AT THAT AT WHAT AGE DO YOU
THINK YOU WILL START LOOKING
LIKE AN ADULT.
>> >> SOME WOULD SAY I WILL BE A
BOY FOREVER.
>> JOINING US NOW ARE THE
DIRECTOR AND CINEMA TOLL GRAFR
OF CHEF FLYNN CAMERON YATES AND
THE CHEF HIMSELF, FLYNN McGARRY.
GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO THE SHOW.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING US.
>> FLYNN, HOW DID THIS ALL START
FOR YOU?
HOW AND WHEN AND WHY DID YOU
DECIDE THAT THIS WAS GOING TO BE
YOUR LIFE?
>> I MEAN, I DON'T THINK IT WAS
EVER SORT OF LIKE A CONSCIOUS
LIKE THIS IS GOING TO BE WHAT
I'M -- WHAT MY LIFE IS.
I MEAN, I STARTED COOKING WHEN I
WAS TEN AND SORT OF MY PARENTS
GOT A DIVORCE, MY MOM DIDN'T
REALLY WANT TO COOK AND SO SORT
OF THOUGHT THAT I WOULD JUST
KIND OF VERY CASUALLY JUST KIND
OF TAKE IT ON, AND THEN SORT OF
REALLY QUICKLY REALIZED THAT
THERE IS JUST SOMETHING ABOUT
KIND OF FOOD AND COOKING THAT I
WAS REALLY KIND OF ENTHRALLED BY
AND SO I JUST SORT OF SPENT ALL
OF MY TIME LEARNING EVERYTHING
THAT I COULD AND THEN STARTED
WORKING IN RESTAURANTS AND, I
MEAN, YEAH, IT WAS SORT OF
ALWAYS JUST LIKE KIND OF WENT
WITH THIS THING OF LIKE I WAS
ENJOYING IT AND THERE WAS ALWAYS
A GRADUAL NEXT STEP TO GO
TOWARDS.
SO IT NEVER WAS REALLY ME BEING
LIKE I'M GOING TO BE A CHEF FOR
A RESTAURANT AND ALL THIS STUFF,
IT KIND OF JUST HAPPENED REALLY
NATURALLY.
>> CAMERON, AS I SAID IN THE
INTRODUCTION, YOU SPENT SIX
YEARS MAKING THIS FILM.
THAT'S A BIG INVESTMENT FOR ONE
FILM.
WHY DID YOU DO THAT?
>> YEAH, I MEAN, I TEND TO -- I
WORK ON THESE LONG-TERM
DOCUMENTARIES.
I REALLY -- I THINK IT'S
IMPORTANT TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME
WITH YOUR SUBJECTS AND GET TO
KNOW THEM OVER THE COURSE OF
YEARS.
I WAS EXCITED TO TELL FLYNN'S
STORY AS HE WAS GROWING UP AND
BECOMING A CHEF AND I WAS ALSO
EXCITED BECAUSE HIS MOTHER HAD
SHOT ALL THIS INCREDIBLE FOOTAGE
SINCE HE WAS A BABY AND I WAS
EXCITED, YOU KNOW, THE FACT THAT
WE COULD USE THIS TO TELL THE
ENTIRE STORY, SORT OF A DECADE
IN THE LIFE OF THIS BOYHOOD OF
HIM GROWING UP, THAT'S WHAT
REALLY DREW ME TO THE PROJECT.
>> THERE IS A LOT OF THAT.
HOW DID YOU -- FIRST OF ALL, HOW
DID YOU HOOK UP WITH THIS STORY?
>> I READ A SHORT ARTICLE ABOUT
HIM WHEN HE WAS SORT OF EMERGING
AND I CONTACTED HIM AND HIS
MOTHER AND WE MET UP IN L.A. FOR
LUNCH, ACTUALLY, FOR THE FIRST
TIME AND THAT'S WHEN WE STARTED
TO GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER.
>> SO, TLIN, AS I SAID IN THE
INTRODUCTION, WHEN YOU WERE 15
YEARS OLD YOU WERE ON THE COVER
OF "NEW YORK TIMES" MAGAZINE,
ONE OF THEIR FOOD ISSUES.
IT'S IN THE FILM, ALSO IN THE
FILM IS THE INCREDIBLY NEGATIVE,
DOWN RIGHT NASTY BLOW BACK YOU
GOT ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE OF
THAT.
WHY?
>> I MEAN, I DON'T TRULY KNOW
WHY BECAUSE I WOULDN'T DO THAT.
SOME PEOPLE DIDN'T LIKE IT AND
THOUGHT THAT OTHERS SHOULD HAVE
BEEN ON THERE.
>> I THINK YOU WERE IN A TED
TALK OR SOMETHING LIKE A TED
TALK WHERE YOU MENTIONED THE
FACT THAT YOU UPSET PEOPLE
BECAUSE YOU KIND OF SHATTERED
THE TRADITIONAL WAY OF BECOMING
A CHEF, RIGHT?
I MEAN, THE TEN OR 20 YEARS
WHERE YOU ARE HEAD DOWN UNTIL
YOU BECOME A CHEF, YOU WERE
DOING ON THE INTERNET, YOU WERE
DOING THE POP UPS, MAYBE YOU CAN
EXPLAIN WHAT A POP UP IS, AND
SUDDENLY YOU WERE ON THE COVER
OF THIS MAGAZINE AND IT UPSET A
LOT OF PEOPLE WHO SPENT A LOT OF
YEARS DOING THAT.
>> YEAH, THAT'S EASE SENGS ALLEY
WHAT IT IS.
I THINK NOW I THINK THE INDUSTRY
AS ANY INDUSTRY SORT OF HAS TO
ADAPT FOR A MODERN AGE WHERE YOU
CAN GET SO MUCH MORE INFORMATION
IN SUCH A QUICKER PERIOD OF
TIME, YOU DON'T HAVE TO JUST GO
WORK SOMEWHERE TO LEARN.
SO MUCH OF LEARNING IS GETTING
THE INFORMATION AND THEN THERE'S
THE PART OF LIKE ACTUALLY DOING
IT AND SO MY THING WAS I WAS
ALWAYS WORKING IN RESTAURANTS ON
THE SIDE AS THAT SORT OF
PRACTICING HOW TO DO IT, BUT
ALSO SORT OF DOING THESE POP UPS
WHERE WE WOULD POP UP FOR ONE
NIGHT IN A RESTAURANT OR
ORIGINALLY DID THEM OUT OF MY
MOM'S HOUSE ONCE A MONTH AND
THERE WERE WAYS THAT I WAS JUST
PRACTICING.
PRACTICING COOKING, PRACTICING
ALL THESE THINGS.
I THINK THAT'S THE FUNNY THING
WHERE IT'S LIKE ESSENTIALLY THE
SAME THINGS NEED TO BE LEARNED
STILL IN ANY KIND OF INDUSTRY TO
BE GOOD AT IT AND TO KIND OF
EXCEL IN IT, BUT I THINK NOW
IT'S SORT OF LIKE THERE IS A LOT
OF TOOLS AND OPPORTUNITIES THAT
IF YOU USE THEM RIGHT YOU CAN DO
IT A LOT QUICKER.
>> THE TRADITIONAL WAY OF
BECOMING A CHEF YOU THINK IS A
THING OF THE PAST NOW PRETTY
MUCH?
>> NO, I'VE ALWAYS WANTED
WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU.
>> OKAY.
>> I LEARN BEST BY SORT OF JUST
DOING AND SO THAT WAS HOW I
COULD LEARN THE MOST AND BE THE
BEST CHEF THAT I COULD.
>> CAMERON, YOU READ A LOT OF
REVIEWS AND THEY SAY, LOOK, THE
FILM IS OBVIOUSLY ABOUT FLYNN'S
RISE, IMPROBABLE RISE IN THIS
INDUSTRY, BUT IT'S ALSO AND
PERHAPS EVEN MORE ABOUT THE
INTERESTING DYNAMIC AND DRAMA OF
HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS MOTHER
MEG.
WAS THAT YOUR INTENTION?
ARE THEY RIGHT?
>> I THINK THEY ARE RIGHT.
I MEAN, FOR ME THAT WAS ALWAYS
SOMETHING THAT BROUGHT ME TO THE
PROJECT AND THEIR DYNAMIC AND
THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS
FASCINATING TO ME, THE MOTHER
AND SON RELATIONSHIP.
I TEND TO MAKE FILMS ABOUT
UNTRADITIONAL FAMILY DYNAMICS, I
MADE A FILM ABOUT A NEW ORLEANS
MADAM WHO RAN A BROTHEL WITH HER
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.
THIS IS A DIFFERENT STORY.
>> LET'S MAKE THAT CLEAR.
>> THAT'S SORT OF WHAT SUSTAINS
THE FILM FOR SO MANY YEARS IS SO
HE GO THAT RELATIONSHIP DEVELOP
AND GROW.
>> IT'S OBVIOUS WHEN YOU SEE
THIS FILM YOUR PASSION IN WHAT
YOU DO.
IT'S A JOY TO WATCH, BUT BEING A
CHEF AIN'T BEANBAG.
WHAT'S THE WORST PART OF THE
JOB?
>> I MEAN, THERE IS A MILLION
THINGS THAT GO WRONG EVERY
SINGLE DAY.
I THINK THE WAY THAT I'M STILL
SANE DOING IT IS YOU SORT OF
TAKE THAT AS A CHALLENGE.
I MEAN, LITERALLY AS I WAS
GETTING HERE OUR OVEN BROKE AND
I GOT A BUNCH OF PHONE CALLS
ABOUT THAT.
IT'S LIKE IT'S -- IT TAKES A
CERTAIN KIND OF PERSON TO ENJOY
AND KIND OF THRIVE IN AN
ENVIRONMENT THAT IS SO KIND OF
CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND
STRESSFUL AND --
>> STRESSFUL INDEED.
>> IT'S DEFINITELY LIKE YOU SEE
IN THE FILM, LIKE THAT NIGHT
WHILE THE FIRST POP UP IN NEW
YORK WHEN I WAS FREAKING OUT, IN
HINDSIGHT IS JUST LIKE A KIND OF
BAD NIGHT IN SERVICE.
IT'S SORT OF YOU LEARN -- YOU
GET REALLY ACCUSTOMED HOW TO
DEAL WITH THINGS GOING WRONG.
>> GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR JOINING US.
IT'S A GREAT FILM.
FANTASTIC STORY.
>> THANK YOU.
>> AND IF YOU'D LIKE TO WATCH
THE FILM CHEF FLYNN YOU CAN FIND
OUT HOW TO DO THAT BY VISION I
GET OUR WEBSITE AT
METROFOCUS.ORG.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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