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article imageReview: ‘Chef Flynn’ is a delectable look at a child prodigy Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jan 27, 2019 in Entertainment
‘Chef Flynn’ chronicles the exceptional real-life accomplishments of a young man who’s earned the opportunity to cook alongside the world’s best chefs before his 19th birthday.
When people think of prodigies, it’s often related to arts such as music or academics such as math. Regardless of the specialty, it’s a label applied to young people who have a natural gift for something that takes other people years of practice to do or comprehend. Their particular genius allows them to know inherently how something is done and excel with seemingly little effort. Consequently, they’re so consumed by this one thing, most other areas of their life, such as unrelated studies and relationships, suffer. Chef Flynn is about a young man who was a pre-teen phenomenon in the kitchen and is realizing his professional dreams before many kids his age have even decided on a career.
Flynn McGarry opened a restaurant in his home at the age of 10. His parents worked in the arts and had a lot of friends who supported the ambitious child’s efforts. But everyone quickly discovered he had a talent for cooking and concocting elaborate dishes that rivaled many established restaurants. From free meals prepared by a staff of Flynn’s classmates, the pet project evolved into a paid, prix fixe menu with a wait list and kitchen staff. As Flynn gained the attention of prominent food critics and chefs, his dreams started to come true. Pop-ups in well-known restaurants, stints in famous kitchens and worldwide press coverage were suddenly no longer fantasies — all before he was 18.
Flynn was lucky enough to grow up in a home with the means to support his desires for exotic ingredients and top-rate appliances. The encouragement he received from everyone allowed him to flourish as an exceptional chef, even modifying his bedroom into a private kitchen. His mother, Meg, was key to his success, having put aside her own career to nurture his goals. A fellow documentarian, the film uses a lot of the footage she shot of Flynn’s early days experimenting in the kitchen and entertaining guests. However, she also speaks candidly about not enjoying being thrust into the position of restaurant and child manager, and being uncomfortable with sidelining her own career for Flynn’s.
Nonetheless, it’s clear Flynn has always known what he wanted to be when he grew up — as demonstrated by the toddler playing house — but he was unwilling to wait. Consequently, it appears he spent all of his time perfecting his techniques and trying new recipes at the expense of the normal social activities of kids his age. He’s repeatedly had to prove his abilities and endure disparaging remarks in response to the media attention he’s received, though it would appear his mom is more affected by the latter. Like many prodigies, the pressure for Flynn to succeed is overwhelming – but it’s also primarily self-inflicted, which can be difficult for his loved ones to watch. His quick rise to the top is extraordinary, but it also wouldn’t be surprising if he was burnt out by his mid-30s by which time he’ll have already been in the business about 20 years.
Eureka is the name Flynn gave his in-house restaurant and pop-ups, and it would seem the exclamation is an apt title for his still blossoming career… though it would be interesting to check in with him again in 10 years.
Director: Cameron Yates
Starring: Flynn McGarry, Meg McGarry and Paris McGarry
More about Chef Flynn, Flynn McGarry, Meg McGarry, Cameron Yates, Documentary
 
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