At age 10, Flynn McGarry started playing with knives in his parent's kitchen.
Just a year and a half later, he opened up Eureka, a pop-up restaurant in his mother's Los Angeles house that served $160 10-course meals and was frequented by celebrities and notable chefs.
"I've always learned better by just kind of throwing myself into the fire, and if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out," McGarry told CNBC.
In 2014, after McGarry's home-based supper club became a big success, he expanded. Eureka relocated to Bier Beisl in Beverly Hills with the support of chef and owner Bernhard Mairinger. It then opened in New York with the help of family friend Carla Ruben, owner of Creative Edge Parties in the West Village.
World-class chefs became interested, and chef Daniel Humm took McGarry under his wing as an apprentice at Eleven Madison Park, a three-star Michelin-rated restaurant.
"I've always seen cooking as a creative outlet, so it was never something I started just for fun," McGarry told CNBC. "It was a matter of learning the techniques and then transitioning them into creative ideas I had."
When The New York Times Magazine featured the young chef's story in 2014, he secured a spot on the world's culinary stage. But he was so busy working, he didn't even have time to take stock of his success.
"When all of this was going on and The New York Times thing came out, I was working in a restaurant, and I didn't even really see it or read it for like two days because I was working," he said.
Eureka's pop-up locations are now closed, and McGarry is working on his next venture: opening a permanent brick-and-mortar location.
And he couldn't have done it without the support of his family.
"My parents have been undeniably supportive, and I probably could not have gotten this far if they were slightly smarter and like held me back," McGarry said. "But they've always had the same attitude of, 'Sure, go do it. If you really believe in yourself and want to do it, why not?'"
For McGarry, success means honing in on your passion and ignoring other people's opinions and doubts.
"There's really nothing holding me back, other than people's opinions, which is not a real thing," he said.
McGarry recently finished high school a year early after taking a state exam that allows for early graduation. He plans on opening a full-time location within the next three years.
Video by Mercedes Barba.