Luke, the owner, was born in Saigon and came to New Zealand in the early 80’s with his family. He has always been involved with food with his late grandfather running a successful noodle cafe in Saigon, where Luke spent a lot of his time growing up. When he wasn’t in the city enjoying his grandfather’s handmade noodles, he would be with his mum and dad on their family farm in Bien Hoa.
Ever since Luke can remember he’s always wanted to open his own Vietnamese restaurant. It was his dream from an early age. It all started one day when Luke was helping his mum in the kitchen cooking Vietnamese Chicken Curry for their family dinner. After that night, Luke was hooked on cooking and the birth of Restaurant 88 was inevitable.
Luke still often cooks his mum’s curry dish for his staff at the restaurant. A lot of Luke’s inspirations came from his mum and Luke’s grand master teacher Lim Bian Yam: a cooking teacher in Malaysia who invited Luke into his home and showed him the fundamentals of food, cooking, harmony, peace and humanity. Luke largely considers himself a self taught chef with a lot of passion and curiosity.
After many years of contemplating and job-shifting, Luke finally decided to take the leap of faith. On 21 June 2004 Restaurant 88 opened its door to their first customer.