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Flynn McGarry Is ‘So Done’ with Pop-ups

The world’s most famous 18-year-old chef on the future of fine dining

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Flynn McGarry is still a teenager, but three years after he came onto the scene as a 15-year-old fine dining wunderkind, he is no longer, technically, a kid. McGarry has spent time in some of the world’s most renowned kitchens, including Geranium in Copenhagen, Alinea in Chicago, Eleven Madison Park in New York, and at the Modernist Cuisine lab in Seattle, where McGarry says he “was prepping next to a malaria mosquito.” More recently, the teen chef (who expects that label to stick long after his teens) has hosted his tasting menu pop-up, Eureka, in Los Angeles and New York, with plans to take it abroad.

Three months into Eureka at Kava, his eight-seat tasting counter in New York, McGarry joined hosts Helen and Greg in the Eater Upsell studio to discuss the particular weirdness of high-end counter service, figuring out the perfect fine dining model for New York City, and why he’s “so done” with pop-ups. Listen below, or read on for the full transcript:

As always, you can get the Eater Upsell on iTunes, listen on Soundcloud, subscribe via RSS, or search your favorite podcast app. You can also get the entire archive of episodes  —  plus transcripts, behind-the-scenes photos, and more  —  right here on Eater.

Read the transcript of the Eater Upsell Season 3, Episode 8: Flynn McGarry, slightly edited for clarity, right here.

Greg Morabito: Today in the Eater Upsell Studios we have Flynn Mcgarry, the chef behind the Eureka supper club, which is currently at Kava, in New York City's West Village.

Helen Rosner: But it used to be in LA.

Flynn McGarry: Yes.

Helen: Hi Flynn.

Flynn: Hello.

Helen: Welcome to the Eater Upsell.

Flynn: Thank you for having me.

Helen: We should deal with the elephant in the room, if anybody listening is not previously aware of Flynn. Pretty much the lead selling point for you, not as a cook but a famous person, is that you are very young, right?

Flynn: Yes.

Helen: This is factual.

Flynn: One would say.

Helen: One would say.

Flynn: That or my hair.

Greg: You might've seen Flynn on some magazine covers, perhaps with titles like "Chef at 15," "The Chef at 15," or "Teen Chef," or something like that, because Flynn is, indeed, a teenager, but he is also a chef of a tasting menu experience that is very highly regarded and very popular, and now has expanded from LA, where it started, to New York City.

Helen: You are no longer a 15-year-old chef.

Flynn: I'm not, no.

Helen: It's weird how the passage of time works like that.

Flynn: It's crazy how three years just goes by like that.

Helen: You're now an 18-year-old chef.

Flynn: An 18-year-old chef, yes.

Helen: You're technically still a teenaged chef, but I would argue you are now an adult chef, by legal definition.

Flynn: In legal terms, yes, I am now an adult chef.

Helen: When you turned 18, did everything just change?

Flynn: No one cares anymore. I'm shocked you guys had me on here.

Helen: You have no value. Go away. So you've been in New York with your Eureka pop-up, and it's been about three months or two-and-a-half months?

Flynn: I lived in New York for a year-and-a-half, and Eureka had a different location last year.

Helen: Right, but how long has it been in its current incarnation?

Flynn: In its current incarnation, it has been like three months.

Helen: Well, let's back up with the questions since it did have a whole life about a year ago. How has it evolved between New York version one and New York version two?

Flynn: It's gotten smaller.

Helen: Yeah?

Flynn: Yeah. I realize the thing with pop-ups is — just because of how unpredictable they are and how you're starting them with no investment, with more or less just the bare minimum of what you need to serve someone this meal — that it's always better to get rid of as much overhead as possible. So I’m going back to LA to do something for a little bit in January or whatever, and we're not carrying this heavy weight. The first pop-ups I was doing were for like 50, 60, 80 people, and then it kept going down in size. Now we're serving eight people, or two seatings of eight, so we serve 16 people a night.

Greg: As far as I understand, but correct me if I'm wrong, you were doing most of the cooking, the active cooking, during all of these meals, right?

Flynn: I still am.

Greg: You still are, so that is unusual.

Helen: It’s probably a lot easier for a seating of eight than it is for a seating of 40 or 50.

Flynn: I wouldn't describe it as easy, but it is easier.

Helen: Easier. It's a relative ease.

Greg: But, that is unusual even in New York where you do have places like Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, where there's one chef who is at a counter. But César Ramírez has a bunch of people that work with him behind the counter, whereas during the [Eureka] experience, it's mostly just you, and obviously you've had some help preparing things.

Flynn: Yeah, I have a staff of two people, and they sort of help. I have someone who helps with all of the service in line, and I have one cook who helps with prepping and some aspects of service, but it's this thing where I really wanted it to be an experience where I'm cooking you dinner. With Eureka, there's a lot of quote unquote “hype pieces” and things that are just about — Like people come in not having any clue really what it is, and that's why I wanted to kind of take everything away and just have it be an experience where you're sitting two feet away from me and I'm going to cook you dinner.

I show up every day, and I work all of the stations, so I get to see the business aspect of it. I still am picking my own herbs and doing kind of every job that goes into the restaurant. I help with polishing glasses. It's this thing where I wanted to, with this pop-up, learn and still keep learning before I open a permanent place. And I'll still be learning then, but I'm honing my skills just working. Before I started doing these pop-ups, I couldn't even imagine cooking a 15-course meal for 24 people a night by myself.

Helen: I mean, that seems like a giant thing.

Flynn: And now, like somehow, I don't sleep, but I can make it happen. And it's made me a much stronger cook from a skills perspective as well, because I'm also learning about how to think about food from an execution standpoint, and that's a lot of the reason why I wanted to make it so small, and also when you're cooking for that many people you cannot afford having staff.

Helen: I think it's really interesting that you are so focused on the business side of this. When we first started talking about this a couple of minutes ago, one of the first things you said was it's smaller because it's just logistically easier, and things like backing and overhead. I imagine that when people fantasize about becoming a chef, or when they decide that food is the thing they're going to be interested in, the operational logistics of actually running a restaurant is not the first thing that comes to mind, but you're very fluent in it.

Flynn: I've spent the past year trying to figure out a fine dining model that makes money in New York City, and it is not that fun.

Helen: You and a lot of other people, I think.

Greg: Wow. Hey, you know, when you figure it out you should let us all know.

Flynn: I know, I'm trying. I'm really trying. It's this thing where your two biggest things in New York are rent and labor.

Helen: Right.

Flynn: And the way that I figured out how to cut down on both of those is that in every fine dining restaurant I've worked in, it's like 50 percent labor. So, if you're serving 100 people, you have 50 people on the staff. And I think about it, as opposed to that, I think about it from like a turn aspect. So right now, we're technically at 50 percent labor, or sort of 50 percent, because there are three of us cooking for eight people, but we're actually cooking for 16. So it's cutting that down by half because it's like we're doing two dinner services at a time.

Helen: Right.

Flynn: And you get to be half the size by doing like a turn. And, I think that, obviously, certain restaurants want to stagger it, and people want to come at eight o'clock, or whatever, and that's kind of the give and take of you give up people wanting to come at the eight o'clock seating, because you need to do a six o’clock seating and a nine o’clock seating. But Blanca does that, a lot of restaurants do.

Helen: Atera does that.

Flynn: Atera does it just because every square foot is $100.

Helen: Yeah.

Greg: Wow.

Flynn: If you think about it like that, you're like, why would I open a big restaurant that has 40 seats? Because now you have to pay that regardless of whether or not 40 people come, or two people come.

Helen: I think everybody in the New York restaurant world talks all the time about how real estate really is the secret driving force, and it's not always part of the public conversation about why the New York restaurant scene is doing X or is doing Y, but you look at the move towards counter fine dining in the last eight years, and it’s 100 percent bad, right?

Flynn: I think that it’s driving everything. Like I said, that and labor cost going up. And it's not even going up because it has to, it's going up because of rent cost, because you can't pay a cook $10 an hour. They can't afford to live here.

Helen: Right. It's not just the rent on the restaurant. It's like, how are you going to live your life?

Flynn: Exactly. And so it's definitely not fun.

Helen: So how does that not fun stuff interact, for you, with the more creative side of cooking? How do you hold both of these in your head at the same time?

Flynn: It's been something that I've been practicing and learning a lot about, and to me, you need to have it. Because I know a lot of chefs that do the creative and someone else deals with the business thing. But, to me, I can't do one without the other, because at the end of the day, I am more creative than I am a business person. That kind of comes with the job, but I can't just be putting on certain dishes that blow out our food cost, because it's also my living, it's my cooks’ living. It's all these things that have to counteract with the creativity. And the unfortunate aspect of being both a business person and a creative is it's compromise on both ends. But, I like to take it as kind of a challenge and have actually started to somewhat enjoy numbers when they work.

Greg: So you have a staff of a few people. Do you like being the boss, or is that a stressful thing?

Flynn: It’s a stressful thing because it's people that are relying on you, and I have to make sure that these people can live and have a nice life, and I enjoy it. Although because we're so small, we're such a tiny team, that it's not really like I'm the — At the end of the day, I'm the boss, but we're all really good friends with each other, and I enjoy it more than just doing literally everything by myself, because then it just gets to be kind of like you're on a ship that's going down all the time, and alone. At least now there's people to be like, "We're fucked” every day.

Helen: Yeah.

Flynn: Can I curse on this?

Helen: Yes, yes you can.

Flynn: Okay, cool.

Greg: Did you ever get in the weeds, doing that thing by yourself, or mostly by yourself?

Flynn: I'm in the weeds every day, but that's why I show up at like six in the morning. Knock on wood, I've never, ever not been ready for service, since we've started this. Every time someone walks in the door, we're ready to serve them, and it's because certain days I would sleep at the restaurant and start cooking at four in the morning if I had to.

Helen: It's very “The show must go on.” And it is a performance, right? Like you're there, you're serving people.

Flynn: There's no "This isn't going to happen."

Helen: Right.

Flynn: There's an hour before service where we're like, “This isn't going to happen," but that's never a reality. It always has to happen.

Helen: How do get your game face on when people walk in the door and you have to stand, like you said, two feet in front of them and hand them a plate of food?

Flynn: I've gotten really good at freaking out in my head and not letting anyone know.

Helen: That's a good life skill.

Flynn: It's a really good thing. People are like, "You look so calm," and I'm like, "I'm not.” I've just gotten really good at putting on this face of like, "Everything's fine.” I've messed up things in front of people, and they didn't know it. And then I fixed it, and they still didn't know it.

That's why I don't like doing a counter, honestly. I like having an open kitchen, but I think a counter's almost too — I hear everyone's conversation. I would like them to enjoy their meal, and at your own table you could have any experience you want. At a counter, it's almost too much like a show, in my opinion. If I go to a counter, I don't feel like I could just sit down and enjoy having a conversation with a friend at dinner. You feel like you're kind of also on show, because you're with all these other people, and you're sitting next to your person.

Helen: We've talked to chefs on the show before who have basically said that they didn't totally realize how much they were performing every night when they decided to go the counter direction.

Flynn: Oh, for sure.

Helen: It really is just like you're an actor. You have to put your face on. You have your lines that you say when you hand over the dishes.

Flynn: Yep.

Helen: And you have the same jokes over and over again, you know.

Flynn: Oh I make the same jokes.

Helen: It's patter.

Flynn: It's made me really good at schmoozing. But I like it, because also people are coming to see me and be like, "What is this thing?" And they also aren't seeing it in this way that it's such a show. It's like, it's a show, but I'm also cooking your food and you're seeing the real aspect of it. And it's not like it's a show in this overly produced aspect, it's a show in the way where, yeah, we light it like a show, and it's like people are watching you move around. My favorite is people are always afraid to talk to me at the counter.

Helen: Oh that's so weird.

Flynn: We always make the joke, “We don't bite.” It's like they're kind of afraid to bother us, or whatever, but it’s made me really good at multitasking. So I can plate and have a conversation. I would rather have someone sitting at a table three feet away, where you can leave them alone and they can be in their own world, as opposed to someone literally right in front of you, watching every single thing you do like a hawk. And, also, if someone's a vegetarian they get a different dish, and everyone's like, "What's that? Why don't we get that?"

You can't really customize anyone's experience. There's a lot of downsides to the counter, but there's also the upsides that people really now are fascinated with seeing everything that's going on, and they ask questions like, "What's that? How do you do that?" They love seeing the actual act of cooking, too. Any time that we blow torch something, people freak out.

Greg: Who’s been coming to eat your food? Has it been people that knew the tasting experience in LA? Are there chefs coming? Is it tourists? Who’s at the counter every night?

Flynn: It is a huge range. We've had a few chefs come in, which is always really nice. I'd say a majority are these people who’ve read the New York Times thing. They read these articles and wanted to try it out, which is an interesting thing if we're getting people, because those articles are always — A lot of the articles have been written from this aspect of “He's a young chef," as opposed to really going into what I actually do, like cook and all that kind of stuff.

So they're coming because of the "He's an 18-year-old chef," and then we kind of, I mean, we're serving a meal that costs the same as these other really high-end restaurants, so then it's our job to deliver that same experience. I think we've done it so far, where everyone who's come with that attitude of, "Oh, we're just going to see a kid chef" is like, "Oh, you guys can actually like run a proper service.” I've almost found it pretty crazy. I judged MasterChef Australia.

Helen: It's huge there.

Flynn: And I’d say 30 percent of our clientele has been Australians visiting.

Helen: Wow. MasterChef is big in the US, but it is, globally, a phenomenon.

Flynn: We even had a group of five people the other day who were from Amsterdam, and they saw the MasterChef Australia episode there, and then they were like, "We need to eat at this place in New York." So there's been a pretty decent amount of people visiting, which has always been crazy to me that we get all of them. We had this group two nights ago in New York who ate at Eureka, Eleven Madison Park, and Jean-Georges. And I was like, that’s a crazy group to be in.

Helen: It's a hell of a trifecta. Yeah.

Flynn: And it's a huge compliment that we're being held at this higher level with destination restaurants, considering that at Eleven Madison Park, most people who go there are visiting New York and they go to eat there.

Greg: If we could bring it back a little bit — so you started this supper club, this experience, at your mom’s house where you grew up, and then it kind of grew bigger from there, and I know that along the way you staged in a few restaurants. Were they all in America or were any of them overseas?

Flynn: No, I staged at Maaemo in Norway and Geranium in Copenhagen, as well.

Greg: Wow, okay. And then, in addition to that, you also staged at Eleven Madison Park in New York, and Alinea and Next in Chicago?

Flynn: Yeah.

Greg: Is that correct?

Helen: Run us through the resume.

Flynn: Run us through the resume?

Greg: Yeah, where else?

Helen: Do the name dropping.

Flynn: I staged at those places. I worked at Alma in Los Angeles for two years. I staged at Modernist Cuisine for a little bit, in Seattle.

Helen: Really? I didn't know about that part. So we had Nathan Myhrvold on the Upsell. What he and the team are doing there is so fascinating.

Flynn: I mean, I was prepping next to a malaria mosquito.

Helen: Yeah, it's crazy.

Flynn: It's a pretty crazy place.

Helen: It’s just pure intellect too, right?

Flynn: Yeah.

Helen: Like occasionally they'll have people in for meals, but it's not a restaurant, it's just a lab.

Flynn: No, I went to kind of just see — I met them at some thing, and was like, "I want to come see what the hell you guys are doing up there." And I got to see the crazy experiments and tools and things that they have there. And I did like a couple collaboration things with them, but that was a while ago.

Helen: So what are you really excited about right now, like, technique-wise or ingredient-wise, or trend-wise? What would get you really excited if someone said "I'm doing a restaurant, we're doing X"?

Flynn: Man, am I that unexciteable?

Helen: We're all jaded here.

Flynn: We're all pretty jaded. Like what I'm trying to do, and I'm trying to find also from other restaurants, is a fine dining place that's fun. Like, a fine dining place that feels like you're at Wildair, or whatever, that's just a super chilled, fun atmosphere, and I feel like places that I've gone in Europe nail it. And I feel like it hasn't quite switched over here yet because —

Greg: What are the places that nail it in Europe?

Flynn: I think Noma probably nailed it the most. I was like, I just feel like I'm at a chill place.

Helen: I totally had the same experience.

Flynn: Right?

Helen: Because at a certain level, and this is coming from a place where I think all three of us here right now have eaten at a lot of fine dining restaurants, and we have a lot of frames of reference, and we're fairly fluent in the language of fine dining. At a certain point, the food is always going to be wonderful.

Flynn: Yeah, the food is always going to be great.

Helen: And the way it's great will vary from place to place, but it will always be great. But, if you can do something with the service, or the framing of the meal, or the experience of being there as a guest, not just as an eater, that's when it starts getting glittery and exciting.

Flynn: It's not even really the service, because from the actual fundamental side of service, to be a fine dining restaurant, you need the same things. So the same way where the food's always going to be good in a three-Michelin-star place, or whatever, the service always needs to be on point. Like, your silverware needs to be on point, all those little details, but I think there's a way to do them this way where you don't even notice that it's going on, and you're just having fun.

Helen: Yeah.

Flynn: I think Blanca did that pretty well, but even that you feel like you're kind of like on this date with these other people, and it's like somewhere that feels like you're eating in someone's house, and you're just hanging out, and the service is perfect. Because at the end of the day, if the service is so good, you shouldn't know that it's going on.

Helen: Right.

Flynn: That's the real thing. You shouldn't know that every little detail is being taken care of, it should just be taken care of, and you should just be able to purely enjoy your experience. Enjoy your food, enjoy your company, enjoy the music, enjoy every aspect of it. I still think Noma did that the best. I was sitting there, and I was like, I'm eating an incredible meal, and everything's been set perfectly. You don't really notice it, but you're having a really chill conversation with one of the cooks, or someone's asking you, "Let's meet up later." And it's just this very natural thing where you feel like you're at a friend's place.

Helen: They're your friends.

Flynn: Yeah, exactly.

Helen: When I went to Noma not too long ago, the thing that really struck me was — the meal was fantastic — but the thing that blew me away was that two days later I was getting a coffee at some brand of coffee shop in Copenhagen —

Flynn: Coffee Collective?

Helen: Probably. And I ran into one of our servers, like ran into our captain, and she was like, "Oh hey.” She knew me by name. She said hi, we chatted, and it was the perfect closure for the feeling that I had during the meal of "I'm hanging out with my super cool friends,” and then they were my actual super cool friends.

Flynn: I hung out at Noma for like three hours after my meal, and I had never met any of the cooks before, and I'm now friends with three of the people that I just met, because I went and ate there and they treated me — And obviously we're sort of in the industry, but everyone I know who's gone there has said the same thing, which is like, the service is just very casual.

Helen: It's intimate.

Flynn: And friendly.

Helen: Yeah.

Flynn: And it's not like this very white glove, stuffy —

Helen: Service with a capital “S.”

Flynn: Yeah exactly.

Helen: Like, an "I am serving you" kind of thing.

Flynn: Exactly. And without making you notice that they're serving you. Like, look at how beautiful all these things are, and it's just somewhere that you could just sit down, eat an incredible meal, everything is perfect, and you don't even notice it.

Helen: Yeah. There are others. Blanca I think definitely has that vibe. I ate at Atera a couple of times this year, and it was because I loved that feeling. Like, it felt friendly and cool.

Flynn: I haven't gone. I haven't gone to the new Atera.

Helen: Yeah, I had gone to the old Atera and liked it and thought it was interesting. And I went to the new Atera with a friend, she had a reservation, and was blown away by exactly that vibe and immediately went home and made another reservation. I was like, I have to go back, because that is what I was looking for. So it can happen in the US.

Flynn: No, it can definitely happen.

Helen: It's starting to happen.

Flynn: Yeah.

Greg: So Flynn, is the grand plan someday to open one of these places, like a permanent Eureka, that has all these things that you're talking about that you like in other places? Or, do you kind of want to keep doing it as a pop-up?

Flynn: I'm so done with pop-ups. I've never been so done. I mean, they've been incredible and a really great learning experience, but I've been doing pop-ups for four years now, and it's at that point where we're constantly in someone else's space, and I feel like, at the end of the day, we can't fully give everyone the experience that we want, because we're working within all these restrictions, because I didn't fully build out the space. All of the little tiny details that make a restaurant great are not in our control because we're in someone else's space that operates as something else.

So Eureka is taking a break and going to LA and possibly Tokyo, and going to London, and during this time, we are looking at spaces and finishing raising money for a permanent space, and I’d ideally like to open the beginning of 2018.

Helen: Wow. That's a very ambitious timeline.

Flynn: I mean, we’ve got a year. A year and some change.

Helen: Greg, in all of your years covering the New York dining scene, what is the longest gap between a restaurant being announced and actually opening?

Flynn: I’m going to say two years, probably.

Greg: Ooh, wow. That is a really good question. You know, in terms of really high profile restaurants, Dan Kluger's [Loring Place] comes to mind. I think it was like two years, but that's not even that long.

Flynn: See, I said two years.

Helen: But it's not even that long.

Greg: It's not even that long. There's a place in Red Hook, called Grindhaus, that took five years to open, partially because of Hurricane Sandy, but partially because of just a series of bad things that happened to the owner.

Helen: I mean, I'm not trying to break your spirit.

Flynn: No, trust me. I'm almost at the point where the spirit cannot be broken anymore. If you're going into opening a restaurant here, you understand what is coming with it.

Helen: Well, hopefully you understand. I mean, not you personally, but hopefully a person understands.

Flynn: Yes, hopefully a person understands. Well, if you don't understand, then it takes five years.

Helen: You're fucked, you're exceedingly fucked.

Flynn: That's the reason that the amount of people that I've talked to about every single thing that you need is so high, and the thing that usually holds it up is bureaucracy.

Helen: Right, like red tape and permitting and stuff.

Flynn: Yeah, it's mostly permitting, but it really depends on what space you have. I know a bunch of chefs who it took two years just to get a space.

Helen: Right.

Flynn: I say 2018, like, ideally.

Helen: All right. It's a year long.

Flynn: But that's the thing, I'm cool if we open 2018, 2020, whatever.

Helen: You’ve got tons of time. You're 11 years old.

Flynn: Yeah. I’ve got plenty of time. I mean, we might run out of food after a certain point, so I just gotta hit that much.

Helen: Like as a culture.

Flynn: Yeah, as like a —

Helen: As a society. Like on earth, we might run out of food.

Flynn: Like as a planet, we might run out of food.

Helen: So that feels like a good window, like before earth runs out of actual food —

Flynn: It’ll be like a last hurrah.

Helen: — Flynn McGarry will open a permanent restaurant.

Flynn: Well then it won't be permanent.

Helen: That's true.

Flynn: It'll be another pop-up.

Helen: A temporarily permanent restaurant.

Flynn: A temporary permanent restaurant before we lose food.

Helen: Before the earth is consumed in flames. This is great.

Greg: I mean, aren't all restaurants temporary, in the sort of long run of things?

Flynn: Oh yeah, for sure.

Helen: We are all going to die.

Flynn: I have this conversation all the time about, you should open a restaurant, say it's permanent, but it’s actually a pop-up. Because you could just close a restaurant.

Helen: I mean, all restaurants close. We all die. Like, it’s a beautiful meditation on our mortality.

Flynn: Yeah. Some of them somehow still stay open, though.

Helen: So on this very dark note, I think it's time for us to enter the portion of the podcast that we call the lightning round. So Flynn, today we have a very —

Flynn: Is there a lightning sound effect there?

Greg: No, well it’s more like —

Helen: It’s some jazzy little music.

Greg: You don't really hear lightning.

Helen: You hear thunder.

Greg: Lightning is usually accompanied by thunder, but it's the kind of lightning that doesn't have thunder.

Flynn: Okay.

Helen: Yeah we don't really call it the thunder round.

Greg: We could though.

Flynn: No one calls it the thunder round.

Greg: But we have a special guest lightning round question asker, and that is our colleague, Hillary Dixler.

Helen: Hillary has a bunch of questions for you.

Flynn: Great.

Helen: Take it away, Hillary.

Flynn: Let's do it.

Hillary Dixler: Hi Flynn. I'm Hillary Dixler, senior editor of Eater, and I have some Lightning Round questions for you. What was the first thing you did when you turned 18?

Flynn: I was sick, so the first thing I did was I went and bought DayQuil.

Helen: Like the kind you had to be 18 to buy?

Flynn: No, but I could do that, you could do that before. I don't know. I just think no one ever asks. But that was the first thing that I did on my 18th birthday.

Helen: Cool.

Flynn: And then I went to the Nomad for lunch.

Greg: Awesome. Like a boss.

Flynn: Yup.

Helen: I think when I turned 18 I bought a pack of cigarettes just because I could.

Flynn: Well you can't do that here.

Helen: You can't in New York?

Flynn: It's 21.

Helen: That's bullshit.

Flynn: Crazy, right?

Helen: That's totally crazy.

Flynn: There's no point turning 18 anymore.

Greg: I felt like when I lived in New York I saw like seven-year-old kids smoking every day.

Flynn: I mean, I'm sure they still do.

Helen: Yeah. But it was more the principle of the thing like, This is now a commercial right afforded to me. I'm going to take advantage of it.

Greg: Right. I'm going to vote. I'm going to smoke.

Helen: And I think I smoked one cigarette and I felt guilty for a month, and then that was it.

Greg: Yeah, I'm going to rent a car in certain states.

Helen: Engage with pornography as a consenting adult. Like, so much.

Greg: I'm going to see an NC-17 movie.

Helen: Seventeen.

Flynn: Seventeen.

Helen: It's right there in the name.

Flynn: Right there.

Greg: Right, duh.

Flynn: What else can you do?

Helen: Anyway.

Greg: I don't know.

Helen: We're going to go down some dark, dark paths, and let's just go to Hillary's next question.

Hillary: What's your go-to convenience store snack?

Flynn: That's really tough. It changes all the time. Chips.

Helen: Just plain chips?

Flynn: No, salt and vinegar.

Helen: Oh. Okay.

Greg: That is a very good kind of chip.

Flynn: Or Tate's cookies. They have those in every bodega here for some reason. I love it.

Helen: It's amazing, right? Tate's was like this high-end —

Flynn: Have you had the white chocolate macadamia nut ones?

Helen: No, but that sounds amazing.

Flynn: Those are pretty crazy.

Helen: It's weird that they're in every bodega.

Flynn: Every bodega.

Helen: Because they started as this super fancy Hamptons cookie brand, and now it's like Oreos. They're literally everywhere.

Flynn: Yeah. Only in New York, though.

Helen: That's so bizarre. So fascinating. Okay, cool, salt and vinegar chips and white chocolate macadamia cookies.

Greg: What's next, Hillary?

Hillary: Name one dish you wish you had created.

Helen: He's making a really serious thinking face.

Flynn: That's a tough one. Milk and honey at the Nomad.

Helen: Oh, the dessert.

Flynn: The dessert. It's probably my favorite dessert, because I don't like dessert, but I really like that.

Helen: So, what goes into that dessert?

Flynn: It's a milk sorbet with a honey caramel thing, and a dehydrated milk foam, and like an oat honey crumble.

Helen: It's really good.

Flynn: It's really good.

Helen: It's like really good, and I'm also not a huge sweets person or a huge ice cream person.

Greg: Yeah I was going to say, I like that dessert as well, and I don't like sweets either.

Flynn: See. Right there.

Greg: Well look at the three of us, huh.

Flynn: We should all go get it. That's the next podcast.

Greg: The milk and honey podcast. All right, what's the next question from Hillary?

Hillary: In two more years, you'll no longer be a "teen” chef. Is it scary or exciting to lose that label?

Flynn: I'm still going to be called that, or it's going to be “the ex-teen chef.” I guarantee it. I'm never going to lose that one.

Greg: You're going to be like a Mickey Rooney or something, you know.

Flynn: Exactly.

Helen: Former child star.

Flynn: Formal, former. I don't know why can't say that right now. Former teen chef. I want it on a business card.

Helen: That's hilarious.

Flynn: I can technically put that on my business card, right?

Greg: “Former teen chef.”

Flynn: “Former teen chef Flynn McGarry.”

Helen: Well, you're technically still a teen chef, though. We've covered this.

Flynn: I'm technically an adult chef, though.

Helen: But you're still a teen.

Flynn: Teen-slash-adult chef.

Helen: Yeah, adult teen chef.

Flynn: Adult teen chef. Young adult.

Helen: There’s a person who interacts with me on Instagram pretty regularly, and their handle is like “kid chef.” And I'm always like —

Flynn: Why didn't I get that one?

Helen: Well, it's “kid chef” and then other stuff. And, and they're super cool, really smart, they have cool photos, they do really cool things, and I'm always a little like, Oh, you're not going to be a kid at some point, and you're going to have to change your Instagram name. Assuming Instagram still exists and matters, that's the thing that I'm always like: You didn't future-proof your handle.

Flynn: That's what you're concerned about? You gotta future-proof the handle.

Helen: Maybe I should be concerned about different things. I don't know. But, I like the business card idea. You should actually do that.

Flynn: “Former teen chef.”

Helen: It's really good.

Flynn: Hey, you could hire a former teen chef to come to your child's birthday party. If none of this works out.

Helen: Yeah. Lucrative career in children's entertainment.

Flynn: Yeah.

Helen: Okay.

Greg: All right, next question.

Hillary: What's your guilty-pleasure television show?

Flynn: I have a good one. Three of my friends and I this summer, every week we'd watch The Bachelorette.

Helen: Whoa.

Flynn: It's crazy, that show.

Helen: I've never seen it.

Flynn: I thought I was gong to hate it, and my sister was like "No you gotta watch this, it's crazy." It's crazy. I don't understand. I never thought I would be into a two-and-a-half-hour-long — Literally, every episode is like two-and-a-half hours.

Helen: My god. It feels that way watching Twitter happen. Like, whenever the show airs, Twitter is nothing but The Bachelorette.

Flynn: We were betting on it. It was fascinating, and then I was like, I need to get a job again, because I cannot be watching this show.

Helen: Have you seen that show Unreal?

Flynn: No.

Helen: It is not a reality show. It is a scripted show about the people who work on a reality show.

Flynn: Oh, I've heard of this, yes.

Helen: It's very, very dark, and everybody is manipulative and awful and it's amazing.

Flynn: I can totally see that happening.

Helen: It's the best show.

Flynn: Have you heard about Chad?

Helen: No. Wait, who's Chad?

Flynn: Oh my god. Chad was on this season of The Bachelorette and he might be the craziest human being to ever grace reality television.

Helen: Oh my god.

Flynn: And like, he just messed everything — He was the only reason anyone watched it. Once he got off we stopped watching it. You have to look up some Chad things.

Helen: All right.

Flynn: It's pretty great.

Helen: I'm going to spend some time brushing up on Chad.

Flynn: I could go on about Chad all day.

Helen: I want to hear more about Chad. We're gonna have a special offshoot episode where it's just Flynn talking about Chad. Okay, Hillary, bring us home.

Hillary: Which of your cookbooks has the most dog-eared pages?

Flynn: I'd say I think probably The French Laundry Cookbook. I still have the one that I got when I was 10, and I became obsessed with it and put a thing on every single page. And then after that, I don't really put sticky notes in pages anymore. I write it down, because it doesn't look very nice.

Helen: What's your most used, or your most referenced cookbook?

Flynn: I don't really reference cookbooks that much. I'd say, probably my most referenced cookbook is maybe Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook. That's probably the one that if I'm like, Oh, what do they put in their chicken jus or something and I can't remember, that's sort of the one that I go back to for things like that.

Helen: Okay.

Greg: Okay, and hit us again Hillary.

Hillary: LA or New York City?

Flynn: New York.

Helen: All right. I'll buy that.

Flynn: LA part time.

Helen: LA as a pop-up city.

Greg: LA during the winter.

Flynn: Yeah, no, LA during January and February. I'm totally cool with that.

Helen: Yeah, but New York you'll have the rest of the time.

Flynn: New York the rest of the time I'm good with.

Helen: All right. Well our New York listeners will love to hear that, and everyone else —

Flynn: Maybe not August. I don't like August here.

Helen: It's a little swampy.

Flynn: I'd rather actually be here in January than in August.

Helen: Okay. So LA in February and August?

Flynn: Sure.

Helen: And New York the rest of the time?

Flynn: Yeah.

Helen: Sounds good. Well Flynn, thanks for joining us here on the Eater Upsell.

Greg: Thanks for stopping by Flynn.

Flynn: Thanks for having me.

Helen: If our listeners want to check you out, where on the internet can they find you?

Flynn: If you want to learn more about the pop-up, you can go to I'm @diningwithflynn on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as well. I don't really post on Facebook that much, but it posts all my Instagrams, so if you're not a big Instagrammer you can see the photos through there.

Helen: Cool.

Greg: Awesome.

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The Eater Upsell is recorded at Vox Media Studios in Manhattan and Los Angeles
Hosts: Greg Morabito and Helen Rosner
Producer: Maureen Giannone
Associate producer/editor: Daniel Geneen
Editorial producer: Monica Burton

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