Nineteen-year-old chef prodigy Flynn McGarry partnered with Airbnb to host a one-off Social Impact Experience in New York, where guests shopped for produce with McGarry at the farmer’s market, followed by an interactive cooking class and lunch at his new restaurant, Gem. All proceeds from the Experience benefited No Kid Hungry.
Here, McGarry guides us through his favorite places in NYC.
WUNDERKIND chef, Flynn McGarry rose to fame at just 10 years old, when he parlayed his bedroom “food lab” into a supper club called EUREKA, hosted at his family’s home in Los Angeles. He soon caught the attention of the food world for his astonishingly accomplished cuisine, and apprenticed at Michelin-starred restaurants including Eleven Madison Park and Alinea, a trajectory captured in the upcoming documentary, Chef Flynn. Now 19 and living in New York, McGarry recently opened Gem, an all-day café (The Living Room) and 18-seat degustation concept (The Dining Room), modeled around a dinner party.
“Since I moved to New York I’ve had the feeling that everyone has such tiny apartments that you kind of treat restaurants like your home,” says McGarry, who designed Gem himself to “be able to handle any sort of crazy idea I have.” That might be mixing family-style dishes with tasting plates, seating diners at the same time, or, as he is currently focused on for summer: “trying pull all the meat out of what we’re cooking, because there’s so much color and beautiful produce.” While dinner at Gem displays the haute culinary innovation that McGarry has become known for, its relaxed atmosphere makes for an unpretentious take on the fine dining experience. “It’s this constant progression of what’s inspiring me food-wise or anything-wise,” he says. “Even in the daytime, we have people who come every single day and will get a few coffees and hang out for five hours, which is exactly what we wanted—to create a space where you could feel comfortable, because when people feel comfortable we can do more interesting things without making it feel like we’re rubbing it in your face.”
Meeting at the iconic Union Square Greenmarket, McGarry helped guests pick out fresh produce and artisanal bread, giving his tips on shopping in-season. Then, the small group headed to his new restaurant, Gem, for an interactive cooking class. The Experience finished with a sit-down lunch, where guests enjoyed the fruits of their labor paired with natural wines.
“I live in Chinatown and it’s the first neighborhood I’ve lived in the city that feels like there’s a community; like a small town where everyone knows each other. I love that about New York: once you get settled in, this giant city actually feels super, super small and comfortable.”
Experience in the Spotlight highlights visionary Airbnb Experience Hosts in their cities. Featuring experts including award-winning chefs, celebrated musicians, world-class architects, and professional athletes, we view each city through the eyes of local creatives as they share a wealth of insider tips, secret spots, favorite haunts, and the destinations that inspire their creativity.
Airbnb partnered with chef prodigy Flynn McGarry on an exclusive Social Impact Experience in New York City, where guests shopped for produce with him at the iconic Union Square Greenmarket, before returning to his new restaurant, Gem, for an interactive cooking class and sit-down lunch with wine pairings. All proceeds from McGarry’s Experience were donated to his cause: No Kid Hungry.