Shawn Luke The Record Bar and Desire

Shawn Luke – Desire & The Record Speakeasies

Shawn Luke – Desire & The Record Speakeasies

In this interview, Shawn Luke, co-owner and director of operations for Desire and The Record Speakeasies, shares how he joined the industry and some stories from behind the scenes.

What do you do?

I am the co-owner and director of operations for Desire and The Record Speakeasies.

How did you get into the industry?

The long-term plan did not involve being in the F&B industry. In fact, it was never thought of, but with a twist of fate and a random call, my journey in the F&B industry started by washing dishes and cleaning toilets as a part-timer at Starbucks.
From there, it has only been an incredible journey of thirteen years and counting!

Share with us a story from behind the scenes.

Many stories happen behind the scenes, and it would be hard to encapsulate this industry’s beauty so simply. The trials and tribulations, the bonding, the satisfaction of a great shift, just too hard to pick one out of the many. If I had to pick, it would be the night shifts I used to work with people I truly care about; it was a special time for me in learning friendships.

What food memory from your childhood or travels stands out?

Nice try, Yum List, but the answer is always Mum’s food; Mum’s food always stands out! Partly because one of her friends will find this article and send it to her, she’ll most certainly ask why not her food that stands out the most, so let’s play it safe because it’s true. Coming home to eat her food hits differently at any point in life.

What’s the best/ worst part of your job?

There are many aspects to this; a simplified version would be the best is the worst & the worst is the best. What may seem like the worst can also be the best and vice versa, depending on how it’s viewed. Nonetheless, every part of the job/career is nothing but a blessing. I’ve learned to appreciate things differently.

What’s one of your favourite food and beverage pairings?

Spaghetti bolognese and wine – chef’s kiss.

What’s one of the wildest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?

Again, there are many. One of them would have to be one night after finishing a late shift, to come outside to the parking lot only to see a customer in his speedos running around. It was a scene from a Seth Rogen movie. He ran and sang around the parking lot, and it didn’t end there. He went up to a friend, I would assume, who was quite intoxicated and was trying to expel his stomach contents when Speedo Dude came up and stuck his finger deep down into the mouth of the intoxicated friend to assist. It worked, and everything came spewing out. Speedo Dude washes his hand in a puddle of water on the road and notices my team, and I proceed to walk over, trying to shake our hands. Never seen us leave so fast.

The perfect day off would be…

Cup of coffee, good music, and best friends hanging out. Tenang is good!

A day in the life of Shawn Luke is …

Unpredictable. There are multiple things that can happen in a day, which can be both fun and stressful. It’s something that fuels me. I start off by setting out work-related matters for the day/week. Have a good breakfast/lunch, and head on out. Attend meetings and discussions with different parties. By evenings, I usually reach the establishments with the team, start preparations and await for the nightlife to kick in.

What does Shawn Luke do for fun?

I enjoy cycling and mild mountain biking at times when time allows it. I’m a movie nerd; there is nothing like a beautiful movie to take me away for a bit. A good book never fails, either.

What would you like guests to know about Desire & The Records?

They’re two completely different worlds to quote guests who have frequented the establishments. They both have their uniqueness, which can only be explained through the senses.

How have you grown in your profession? What are your key learnings from your start in the industry until now? Any misconceptions?

I would say, looking back at how I started off in this industry and where I’m at now, I’ve grown to be a person I’m pretty proud of but constantly reminding myself of those humble beginnings, never take it for granted and always respect every person at every level.

Trusting people works most of the time, but occasionally, someone comes along and shakes that tree of trust, which makes you grow the roots stronger.

What do you want people to know about being an entrepreneur as a profession?

We all have our own ways of being an entrepreneur. The ground basics of it would always be to outsmart, outwork, and outdo everything and anything others have done, and you’ll find your place in it all. It won’t be easy, it won’t be instant, and it sometimes will be brief. Learn to appreciate the journey and all it entails.

What’s your view on the F&B scene in KL?

Super interesting! KL has evolved into an amazing blend of interesting restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, speakeasies and so on. I believe it’s ever-expanding and developing. So many talented people bring new ways to show what this industry is about. That being said, there’s always room to grow and improve, which we always do.

What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement to work towards social responsibility and sustainability in the future?

There has been this shift in the industry towards sustainability.
We’re all working towards ensuring what we do becomes fully sustainable and responsible. With the help of those around us who have paved the way for us, it is becoming increasingly applicable.

What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?

An amazing and unique experience with exciting events lined up for the year, we’re sure to set some memorable times for everyone.

Read more interviews with people in the hospitality industry here, like this one with Shawn Luke, and stay updated with the latest gourmet and travel recommendations here and here

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.