It’s somewhat difficult in 2018 to find rooting interest in the story of a straight white male born into a wealthy household who manages to achieve his dream at an early age, which is an issue Cameron Yates’ documentary Chef Flynn deals with both in its text and subtext. Flynn McGarry is a photogenic young Angeleno with great hair who discovered during his parents’ divorce that he had a refined palate and enjoyed putting fancy meals together. (He dislikes the word “prodigy,” of course.)
By the age of 12, he had established his own supper club in his mother’s swank house, at 13 he got a brief write-up in the New Yorker, and at 15 he was doing pop-ups in New York restaurants and became the subject of a New York Times Magazine cover story. By 16, he’d moved into his own Manhattan apartment, preparing to open his first restaurant. That’s a trajectory we can all identify with, right? The role his born privilege plays is addressed in online criticisms, and the seemingly inevitable Doogie Howser comparison doesn’t come until about an hour into the film. But that tacit acknowledgment doesn’t prevent Chef Flynn from becoming New York Lifestyle Porn à la Always at the Carlyle: pretty pictures of food you’ll never get to eat.
Not rated. Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.