Today, Monday, one of the youngest speakers in the history of the congress, American Flynn McGarry (GEM, New York), demonstrated the powerful taste of vegetable cuisine with his versions of ceviche and schnitzel.
Known as the Justin Bieber of food, one of the youngest speakers in the history of the congress, this morning Flynn McGarry stepped up in the Madrid Fusión Alimentos de España auditorium to show his fondness for the world of vegetables from the heart of New York. Only 22 years old, Flynn McGarry produced two of the dishes on the sampling menu at his GEM, a menuless restaurant where diners do not know what they will be eating. “They do know there won’t be much meat or fish, because we concentrate on fruit and vegetables, which have more of an umami flavour”.
McGarry came up with a ceviche with no fish, which he replaced with different types of strawberries – including fermented strawberries – and slithers of apple. This “carpaccio” was treated with a stock “similar to dashi, only with vegetables and plants”, with smoked white asparagus skin, leek leaves and lime. He finished off with chili oil and flowers, “which aren’t just for decoration”. “The objective is to come up with a wealth of flavour in each spoonful”, he said, in a bid to demonstrate that “vegetables are not just a side dish”.
“A normal tasting menu finishes with fish or meat, but this version occurred to me because it was more intense. I want to finish off by giving diners something to think about, that bears no relation to what they’ve just eaten”. This was his vegetable version of a schnitzel, similar to a battered taco with rye pasta, cabbage, wild mushrooms, algae and lettuce, with a sauce similar to Bordelaise with mushrooms, and water and onion stock. “The texture of the wild mushrooms induces the brain to confuse you, and that’s also what I’m after”, he added, before confessing that his fondness of raw vegetables was somewhat flawed: “There I give in and I don’t eat the vegetables raw, I fry them. Sometimes you have to give in …”.
This was McGarry’s vegetable-based vision of cuisine, carved out and shaped at only 22 years old, but with previous baggage and experience. Originally from California, he moved to New York at 16, and opened his own restaurant on the Lower East Side at 19. GEM is a bar-cafeteria by day, and by night it turns into a restaurant with a sampling menu dominated by vegetables and fruit. Before he set up GEM, McGarry worked at Eleven Madison Park, Alinea, Next, Geranium and Maaemo, among others.