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小鮮肉廚師在紐約走紅,做一頓飯要200美元

Anna Ben Yehuda Rahmanan 2019年10月13日

20歲的天才少年廚師弗林·麥克格瑞已經名滿紐約美食圈。

廚師弗林·麥克格瑞。圖片來源:Aaron Bengochea Photography

年僅20歲的弗林·麥克格瑞是紐約市下東區一家名叫“Gem”的餐廳的主廚。在接受采訪時,他穿著一條合體的深灰色西褲,上身穿一件深綠色毛衣,內搭一件白色T恤,腳穿黑色皮鞋。這身衣服乍看上去十分休閑,但經過一個小時的采訪,他的這身穿著卻仍然不會令人產生一絲隨意感。顯然,他的衣服并不是隨便穿的,而是經過了精心搭配。麥克格瑞很喜歡這種控制感。

要寫一篇關于這位天才少年廚師的報道,可比我之前預想的難得多。11歲那年,麥克格瑞就開了一家名叫Eureka的“快閃”餐廳,專門提供晚宴菜肴。這家餐廳先是開在麥克格瑞的老家洛杉磯,后來搬到了紐約。13歲時,麥克格瑞已經是名滿天下的“烹飪神童”。在采訪麥克格瑞之前,我事先準備了很多問題(比如,是什么讓一個11歲的孩子愛上了烹飪?是什么激勵他在這條道路上走了10年?),但當我走進Gem餐廳后,只是跟麥克格瑞簡單聊了幾句,我就發現,麥克格瑞并非是一個“神童”二字就能概括的少年,他也絕非一個普通的廚師。當然,他成名得很早,即便現在也非常年輕,但他的靈魂卻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”這個名字來自麥克格瑞的母親梅格(Meg),將Meg倒過來拼寫,就成了Gem。圖片來源:Gem

他的故事還是從頭說起吧。弗林·麥克格瑞1998年11月出生于洛杉磯。從很小的時候起,他就對烹飪產生了興趣。有一年他過生日,母親梅格送給他一本烹飪書——托馬斯·凱勒的《法式洗衣房食譜》(The French Laundry Cookbook)。麥克格瑞回憶道:“我選它作為禮物,是因為它是最貴的一本。當時,我們家沒有錢去高檔餐廳,所以我只能通過烹飪書籍去感受那些地方。”

麥克格瑞很快發現,自己之所以會買這些烹飪書,是出于自己對烹飪的喜愛,而并不是因為烹飪書激起了自己對做菜的興趣。他表示:“我沒有把它們當成工具書,而是覺得它像哲學一樣。我并不關心里面的菜譜,當時我也沒有辦法做那些菜,重要的是這種心態。”正是廚師們身上散發的那種氣質,和一切盡在掌握的控制感,讓麥克格瑞愛上了烹飪這門藝術。“烹飪就像是我的心理療法,這里沒有混亂,在喧囂中,你關注的只有面前的食材。你可以一直控制它,不管是洗手的時候,還是把什么東西扔進垃圾桶的時候。”

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.”

麥克格瑞把自己的臥室改造成了一間廚房。12歲那年,他創辦了餐飲俱樂部Eureka。現在,他和他的姐姐在紐約市下東區開了一家自己的餐廳。圖片來源:Aaron Bengochea Photography

但是今年夏天,他覺得這種權威感和永恒感似乎一度有所消退。他決定暫時關掉2018年2月才開業的Gem餐廳。“我需要離開一段時間。最近三年,我從來沒有離開這個地方超過兩天以上。這樣你的視野會變得狹隘。由于你一直在做事,你就意識不到自己做得哪里不對,也就無法做出改變,這樣很不好。”

于是,麥克格瑞關掉餐廳,去了歐洲,因為那里最讓他有家的感覺。“我真的不喜歡美國,我一直對它產生不了親切感。”他回憶道,15歲那年,他搬到了紐約,之后曾經在多家餐館工作過。“我在美國工作過的每一家餐廳,或多或少都受到了歐洲某個地方的啟發。所以我就想,與其在這里工作,為什么不直接去找這些靈感的來源呢?”

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?”

涂滿了黑木莓醬的鴨腿。圖片來源:Gem

不過,麥克格瑞也認為,Gem是不能開在紐約以外的地方的。“我營造了一種逃離紐約的感覺。”麥克格瑞表示,他的餐廳不僅僅是一個讓人吃飯的地方。“一切都很重要,不管是溫度、房間的氣味、光線,還是將它描述給你的方式。”

回到紐約后,麥克格瑞決定做出一些改變。他說:“剛開張的時候,店里有6張桌子,后來我們減少到5張,后來又進一步減少到3張。”現在,這家餐廳每晚能容納8人就餐,這位大廚的菜單上只有12到15道菜,每道都是精品,每位客人收費200美元。麥克格瑞解釋道:“剛開業的時候,我們想營造一種晚宴的感覺。每天晚上只有我和另外兩名廚師。”

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。圖片來源:Gem

意識到了“大道至簡”的道理,麥克格瑞決定,他的餐廳只在周二到周六開放,同時,對菜單的變化也要做出限制。“我意識到,只有多花時間試驗,我才會有更好的點子,這樣菜品才會變得更精致、更穩定。所以我大概一個月才會變換一次菜單。這樣一來,我就有了測試菜品的時間。其他時候,我只需要執行就好了。”

每天晚上做同樣的菜,會不會很無聊?麥克格瑞對此表示:“我的創造力經常得不到滿足。不過餐廳的許多其他方面的事也是我很感興趣的。”每天晚上,麥克格瑞都會親自挑選給客人上的酒和播放的音樂。他甚至會親自站在門口迎賓、打掃衛生、倒垃圾、接電話和回電子郵件。在廚師界這樣一個充斥著自封的“大師”和“時尚引領者”的圈子里,居然有人對這種臟活累活樂在其中,實在令人驚訝。

有些諷刺的是,這個餐廳里有一件東西,是麥克格瑞控制不了的——這就是餐廳名義上的所有權。由于他還不到21歲,所以麥克格瑞還申領不了賣酒執照,餐廳的老板只好由他姐姐帕里斯掛名。

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餐廳的Miu Miu x假日晚宴。圖片來源:Aaron Bengochea Photography

雖然他并不迷戀紐約(至少不是一直這樣),不過麥克格瑞承認,這座城市對他的烹飪藝術也產生了一定影響。

他表示:“紐約的理念是:你來到這里,你打開了某個東西,然后你就能充分地實現自我。然而實際上完全不是這樣的。在成長的過程中,你自己也會發生變化。”這又回到了人們討論最多的一個話題:麥克格瑞的年齡。

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.

克格瑞不僅僅是一個“烹飪神童”,也不僅僅是一個普通的廚師。圖片來源:Aaron Bengochea Photography

很顯然,前幾年他之所以一夜之間成為全美國知名的人物,就是因為他的年齡。沒有哪個11歲的孩子有他這樣高超的烹飪技術,更不可能像他做得一樣好。雖然后來的事實證明,他的名聲是當之無愧的(只需要在網上看看食客的評價,就會發現這一點),但媒體仍然喜歡稱他為“前‘烹飪神童’”。對于這個頭銜,麥克格瑞的看法是:“我正在慢慢接受它。是的,我有時仍然想證明自己,不過只要我還從事廚師這個職業,就算大家來這家餐廳吃飯是沖著‘烹飪神童’來的,又有什么大不了的?我還是得給他們做菜。”

從在臥室里鼓搗廚藝的13歲少年,到如今20歲的餐廳老板,“做事”二字對于麥克格瑞的意義也發生了變化。他現在還在從事很多目前仍然保密的項目,這些項目據說“與烹飪無關”,主要涉及設計方面。不過它們也耗費了他的相當一部分精力。

當然,他要忙的事情太多了。他笑著說道:“我快累死了。你從我的聲音里能聽出來嗎?”(財富中文網)

譯者:樸成奎

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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