A nerd can take any number of forms but to us, it is those who head in new directions through a passionate and nerdy approach to their craft. Our Nerd Chair series by David Geckeler was designed from this idea of perceiving the nerd as a positive force of change—someone who shines through in their ways of creating new perspectives within their work.
Wanting to explore this notion of the Nerd even further, we visited three creatives across the world to hear their thoughts on being a nerd, the second being renown chef-on-the-rise Flynn McGarry of Gem NYC.
Having discovered an interest in cooking at the mere age of 12, young chef Flynn McGarry has grown to become one of the up-and-coming stars on the global gastronomic stage. Now at the helm of his own restaurant Gem on New York’s Lower East Side, McGarry has a permanent outlet to communicate his allure for cooking.
“I like to know a lot about food,” says McGarry, seated in the back-space of Gem, known as the living room. Cooking through cookbooks over and over has been a thing for McGarry since childhood where he hosted his first pop-up restaurant, Eureka, in his mother’s home. Now, McGarry uses his self-taught palette of flavors to create dishes that are as tastefully stimulating as they are visually enticing.
On his approach to cooking, McGarry notes: “I never want to stop learning. There’s
always more to learn. To me, it’s not about being crazy knowledgeable about this
produce or that technique—it’s about the opportunity to constantly explore new
ingredients, methods and ways of thinking,” and adds “It’s rare that I show my
nerdiness though I’ve made it a point for myself to always know as much as possible
about the elements of my work.”
“Having a nerdy obsession with each and every aspect of food, even the less charming ones, rather than focusing on the more glamorous sides of the industry has been helpful in staying humble and getting an in-depth understanding of all the things that go into making a dish come to life,” explains McGarry.
Looking towards the kitchen where chefs are prepping for the night’s service,
McGarry ponders: “Striving to know everything about your work keeps you excited
about what you do, stimulating you to explore new paths and ways of doing things. You
need a constant yearning for new knowledge in order to move forward.”
Visit Flynn McGarry at his restaurant Gem on 166 Forsythe Street, New York, NY 10002.
Imagery by Simon Heger Knudsen.