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小鲜肉厨师在纽约走红,做一顿饭要200美元

Anna Ben Yehuda Rahmanan 2019年10月13日

20岁的天才少年厨师弗林·麦克格瑞已经名满纽约美食圈。

厨师弗林·麦克格瑞。图片来源:Aaron Bengochea Photography

年仅20岁的弗林·麦克格瑞是纽约市下东区一家名叫“Gem”的餐厅的主厨。在接受采访时,他穿着一条合体的深灰色西裤,上身穿一件深绿色毛衣,内搭一件白色T恤,脚穿黑色皮鞋。这身衣服乍看上去十分休闲,但经过一个小时的采访,他的这身穿着却仍然不会令人产生一丝随意感。显然,他的衣服并不是随便穿的,而是经过了精心搭配。麦克格瑞很喜欢这种控制感。

要写一篇关于这位天才少年厨师的报道,可比我之前预想的难得多。11岁那年,麦克格瑞就开了一家名叫Eureka的“快闪”餐厅,专门提供晚宴菜肴。这家餐厅先是开在麦克格瑞的老家洛杉矶,后来搬到了纽约。13岁时,麦克格瑞已经是名满天下的“烹饪神童”。在采访麦克格瑞之前,我事先准备了很多问题(比如,是什么让一个11岁的孩子爱上了烹饪?是什么激励他在这条道路上走了10年?),但当我走进Gem餐厅后,只是跟麦克格瑞简单聊了几句,我就发现,麦克格瑞并非是一个“神童”二字就能概括的少年,他也绝非一个普通的厨师。当然,他成名得很早,即便现在也非常年轻,但他的灵魂却比他的表面成熟得多。

Comfortably nestled inside his restaurant Gem on New York City’s Lower East Side, 20-year-old chef Flynn McGarry wears dark gray slacks that hug his frame just so, a forest green sweater with a white T-shirt peeking from underneath, and black moccasins. Although, at first glance, it seems to be thrown on without a thought, McGarry’s outfit suddenly becomes anything but casual after a one-hour conversation. Clearly, nothing he does is left to chance or, at the very least, isn’t thoroughly analyzed. McGarry likes to be in control.

It’s harder than expected to write about the former teen chef who reached mega-fame status at the age of 13 after staging dinner parties at his monthly pop-up restaurant Eureka, first in his Los Angeles home, and then in New York, starting at the age of 11. Although I had stepped into Gem with a preplanned set of queries (What even compels an 11-year-old to try his hand at cooking? What keeps him going for 10 years?), a mere three-sentence exchange with the chef makes it clear that McGarry is more than a child prodigy and more than an average cook. Sure, he’s young and started out while even younger, but he embodies the spirit of a person whose soul is much older.

“Gem”这个名字来自麦克格瑞的母亲梅格(Meg),将Meg倒过来拼写,就成了Gem。图片来源:Gem

他的故事还是从头说起吧。弗林·麦克格瑞1998年11月出生于洛杉矶。从很小的时候起,他就对烹饪产生了兴趣。有一年他过生日,母亲梅格送给他一本烹饪书——托马斯·凯勒的《法式洗衣房食谱》(The French Laundry Cookbook)。麦克格瑞回忆道:“我选它作为礼物,是因为它是最贵的一本。当时,我们家没有钱去高档餐厅,所以我只能通过烹饪书籍去感受那些地方。”

麦克格瑞很快发现,自己之所以会买这些烹饪书,是出于自己对烹饪的喜爱,而并不是因为烹饪书激起了自己对做菜的兴趣。他表示:“我没有把它们当成工具书,而是觉得它像哲学一样。我并不关心里面的菜谱,当时我也没有办法做那些菜,重要的是这种心态。”正是厨师们身上散发的那种气质,和一切尽在掌握的控制感,让麦克格瑞爱上了烹饪这门艺术。“烹饪就像是我的心理疗法,这里没有混乱,在喧嚣中,你关注的只有面前的食材。你可以一直控制它,不管是洗手的时候,还是把什么东西扔进垃圾桶的时候。”

But let’s start from the beginning: Flynn McGarry was born in Los Angeles in November 1998. Because of his passion for cooking early on, his origin story usually calls out Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook, which McGarry’s mother, Meg (that would be “Gem,” backward), gifted him for his birthday. “I picked it up because it was the most expensive one,” he recalls. “We weren’t a family that could afford to go to fancy restaurants, so cookbooks were my way of experiencing these places.”

McGarry is quick to note that it’s the cooking that inspired the cookbook purchase and not vice versa. “I read them like philosophy,” he says about the tomes in general. “I don’t think of [them] as instructional books. I didn’t care about the recipes, I couldn’t cook those! It was the mindset.” That kitchen ethos and the sense of control that chefs exude are what have kept McGarry passionate about the craft. “Cooking is like my therapy,” he says. “There is no chaos. Everything is crazy but what is in front of you. You can control constantly. The amount of detail [involved in washing] your hands or throwing something in the trash.”

麦克格瑞把自己的卧室改造成了一间厨房。12岁那年,他创办了餐饮俱乐部Eureka。现在,他和他的姐姐在纽约市下东区开了一家自己的餐厅。图片来源:Aaron Bengochea Photography

但是今年夏天,他觉得这种权威感和永恒感似乎一度有所消退。他决定暂时关掉2018年2月才开业的Gem餐厅。“我需要离开一段时间。最近三年,我从来没有离开这个地方超过两天以上。这样你的视野会变得狭隘。由于你一直在做事,你就意识不到自己做得哪里不对,也就无法做出改变,这样很不好。”

于是,麦克格瑞关掉餐厅,去了欧洲,因为那里最让他有家的感觉。“我真的不喜欢美国,我一直对它产生不了亲切感。”他回忆道,15岁那年,他搬到了纽约,之后曾经在多家餐馆工作过。“我在美国工作过的每一家餐厅,或多或少都受到了欧洲某个地方的启发。所以我就想,与其在这里工作,为什么不直接去找这些灵感的来源呢?”

That sense of authority and permanence was temporarily lost by the chef this past summer. “I needed some time away,” he says about his decision to close Gem, which he opened back in February 2018, for the season. “I hadn’t not been in this place for more than two days in almost three years. You get tunnel vision, [which] makes you bad because you can’t change and you can’t see what you’re doing wrong because you’re just doing.”

So McGarry closed up shop and went to Europe, where he feels most at home. “I don’t really like America. I’ve never really felt an affinity for it,” he says, also mentioning his move to the region when he was 15 to work at different restaurants. “Every restaurant I’d worked in in America was inspired by somewhere in Europe,” McGarry continues. “So I was like, why would I go work at places here when I can go straight to the source?”

涂满了黑木莓酱的鸭腿。图片来源:Gem

不过,麦克格瑞也认为,Gem是不能开在纽约以外的地方的。“我营造了一种逃离纽约的感觉。”麦克格瑞表示,他的餐厅不仅仅是一个让人吃饭的地方。“一切都很重要,不管是温度、房间的气味、光线,还是将它描述给你的方式。”

回到纽约后,麦克格瑞决定做出一些改变。他说:“刚开张的时候,店里有6张桌子,后来我们减少到5张,后来又进一步减少到3张。”现在,这家餐厅每晚能容纳8人就餐,这位大厨的菜单上只有12到15道菜,每道都是精品,每位客人收费200美元。麦克格瑞解释道:“刚开业的时候,我们想营造一种晚宴的感觉。每天晚上只有我和另外两名厨师。”

Yet McGarry doesn’t think that Gem could work outside of New York. “I create an escape from New York,” he says when discussing what he believes to be the appeal of his eatery, which McGarry sees as more than a space to serve his food in. “It’s about everything. It’s about the temperature, the way the room smells, the light, the way it’s described to you.”

Upon his return to New York, McGarry decided to change things up. “When we first opened, we had six tables, then we went down to five and then three,” he says. Today the restaurant seats eight people nightly and charges $200 each to revel in the chef’s 12-to-15-course tasting menu. “The initial idea when we opened was to feel like you’re going to a dinner party,” explains McGarry. “It’s just me and two cooks [every night]. That’s it.”

酸奶土豆沙拉。图片来源:Gem

意识到了“大道至简”的道理,麦克格瑞决定,他的餐厅只在周二到周六开放,同时,对菜单的变化也要做出限制。“我意识到,只有多花时间试验,我才会有更好的点子,这样菜品才会变得更精致、更稳定。所以我大概一个月才会变换一次菜单。这样一来,我就有了测试菜品的时间。其他时候,我只需要执行就好了。”

每天晚上做同样的菜,会不会很无聊?麦克格瑞对此表示:“我的创造力经常得不到满足。不过餐厅的许多其他方面的事也是我很感兴趣的。”每天晚上,麦克格瑞都会亲自挑选给客人上的酒和播放的音乐。他甚至会亲自站在门口迎宾、打扫卫生、倒垃圾、接电话和回电子邮件。在厨师界这样一个充斥着自封的“大师”和“时尚引领者”的圈子里,居然有人对这种脏活累活乐在其中,实在令人惊讶。

有些讽刺的是,这个餐厅里有一件东西,是麦克格瑞控制不了的——这就是餐厅名义上的所有权。由于他还不到21岁,所以麦克格瑞还申领不了卖酒执照,餐厅的老板只好由他姐姐帕里斯挂名。

In his attempt to float back to the basics, McGarry also opted to open only Tuesdays through Saturdays and limit the changes to his menu. “I realized that the better ideas that I have are when I spend more time testing, because they become a bit more refined and composed,” he explains. “So the idea was to change [the menu] maybe once a month [so] there are times when I test and there are times when I just execute.”

Does it get boring to cook the same thing every night? “I’m creatively always unsatisfied,” he says. “But it’s becoming this different thing because there are so many other aspects to the restaurant that I’m interested in.” McGarry selects the wine served and the music played each night. He welcomes guests as the front-of-house person, cleans and takes the trash out, answers the phone, and even responds to his own emails—a task that, in a world ruled by self-defined influencers and tastemakers, ends up becoming the most surprising part of his job.

Ironically, the one thing that doesn’t squarely fall on him is the actual ownership of the restaurant. Because he is not yet 21, McGarry can’t have a liquor license, so his older sister Paris is the technical proprietor of the space.

Gem餐厅的Miu Miu x假日晚宴。图片来源:Aaron Bengochea Photography

虽然他并不迷恋纽约(至少不是一直这样),不过麦克格瑞承认,这座城市对他的烹饪艺术也产生了一定影响。

他表示:“纽约的理念是:你来到这里,你打开了某个东西,然后你就能充分地实现自我。然而实际上完全不是这样的。在成长的过程中,你自己也会发生变化。”这又回到了人们讨论最多的一个话题:麦克格瑞的年龄。

Although not enamored with New York (at least not constantly), McGarry acknowledges the influence that the city has had on his craft.

“The idea of New York is that you come here and you open something and you’re fully realized,” he says. “That’s not it at all. You grow and you change.” Which is how we land on what is arguably the most discussed aspect of McGarry’s career: his age.

克格瑞不仅仅是一个“烹饪神童”,也不仅仅是一个普通的厨师。图片来源:Aaron Bengochea Photography

很显然,前几年他之所以一夜之间成为全美国知名的人物,就是因为他的年龄。没有哪个11岁的孩子有他这样高超的烹饪技术,更不可能像他做得一样好。虽然后来的事实证明,他的名声是当之无愧的(只需要在网上看看食客的评价,就会发现这一点),但媒体仍然喜欢称他为“前‘烹饪神童’”。对于这个头衔,麦克格瑞的看法是:“我正在慢慢接受它。是的,我有时仍然想证明自己,不过只要我还从事厨师这个职业,就算大家来这家餐厅吃饭是冲着‘烹饪神童’来的,又有什么大不了的?我还是得给他们做菜。”

从在卧室里鼓捣厨艺的13岁少年,到如今20岁的餐厅老板,“做事”二字对于麦克格瑞的意义也发生了变化。他现在还在从事很多目前仍然保密的项目,这些项目据说“与烹饪无关”,主要涉及设计方面。不过它们也耗费了他的相当一部分精力。

当然,他要忙的事情太多了。他笑着说道:“我快累死了。你从我的声音里能听出来吗?”(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

Clearly, back when he first started, McGarry was thrust onto the national stage because of his age. No 11-year-old is supposed to do what he was able to do, especially not as well as he’s been doing it since. Yet, even after proved deserving of his success (a mere glance at reviews of his restaurant will highlight that—and then some), the press still refers to him as the “former teen chef.” “I’m dealing with it,” McGarry says about the title. “Yes, there is still a part of me that wants to prove [myself] but, as long as I get to cook for people, if the reason they’re coming to the restaurant is because of the “teen chef,” who cares? I still get to do it.”

What “doing it” means to McGarry has also shifted since his days as a 13-year-old cooking in his bedroom in California. He is now taking on a slew of yet-to-be-revealed projects that are “not connected to cooking” but mostly deal with design and take up a chunk of his brain space.

Of course, that’s a lot. “I’m exhausted,” he says while smiling. “Do you hear my voice?”

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