When the pandemic struck, the King of Kensington Market Luke Hayes took pause. Owner of LUST, an underground supper table that’s made countless appearances on the world’s best lists was forced to close. His entire business model relied on the convergence of strangers mingling and sharing communal dining space in his tidy two floor space. Ew, David! No offense, but I can barely cross the street without holding my breath (under a mask) these days. While I have had the pleasure of attending Luke’s impressive food bashes on more than one occasion, his decision, especially as a type 1 diabetic, in phase 3 not to re-open is prudent. While I miss his no menu, no bro-scene dining space- the dynamic, daring and exciting blindness of not knowing was a huge draw. From a culinary prospective, Luke’s a Harry Potter level-wizard. You’re transported to whatever far-off region he’s emulating. Maybe that’s why I miss it even more.
So what’s a Chef without a supper club to do? Luke was able to quickly pivot and offer his outstanding tasting menus as delivery meals, with all the grandiose plating flourishes and effort of his supper clubhouse. Luke also managed to categorize and publish a slew of his recipes for those looking to recreate fave LUST menus at home.
“My business model lies in strangers coming together under one roof, we’ve had to adapt, we’ve had to be creative on how to do things in a pandemic. I miss the vibe of 20 or 30 strangers coming together and having an unforgettable night. You have to be creative, and before you know it, you’re doing something you never thought you’d be doing, and it works!”Chef Luke Hayes
Stepping out of his comfort zone, but into something he’s super passionate about. Disco. Taking up his LUSTy roots as SEKSI on Spotify, Luke’s been taking vocal lessons and producing these tracks. His title track Solo Disco was written in the middle of quarantine, it’s a feel-good earworm that catapults you out of your current meh-ness. And if you have the good fortune to retain any LUST memories, you may recall Luke’s playlist as a standout, he’s got an ear for good music, and it’s great to see this creative flex explored in new methods.
And what better outfit to rock, during a quarantine (and let’s face it, the precipice of another lockdown) to this new Solo Disco movement? Luke’s got you covered there too, with his new clothing line featuring cheeky cute food and lust-forward sayings. And yes, of course he boasts a line of masks too.
All photos by Libby Roach.