Luna’s chef and owner, Shawn Stokes, has over 15 years experience in the restaurant industry. A 1998 graduate of Johnson & Wales University’s culinary arts program, he has worked in numerous successful establishments up and down the East Coast, including the Ritz Carlton in Naples, FL, Chillingsworth in Cape Cod, MA, Hank’s and Peninsula Grille in Charleston, SC, and Komi in Washington, DC. During his time in the industry, he served in front-of-house and back-of-house roles, gaining a well-rounded understanding of restaurant operations and management.
In 2005, Shawn left the restaurant world to pursue a career in international development. He spent the next 10 years working in different parts of the world, gaining experience with organizations such as the US Peace Corps, USAID, UNICEF, CARE International, and Catholic Relief Services. Unable to stray too far from his culinary background, much of his work centered on improving global food systems. Most often, he lived and worked in Latin America, where he collaborated with coffee growers in Ecuador, subsistence farmers in El Salvador, shrimp fishermen in Mexico, and cattle ranchers in Brazil.
Shawn and his wife, Maria, moved to Durham in 2009 and were struck by the exciting changes taking place in the city. Wanting to start a family, they soon decided to make Durham their home. It wasn’t long before Shawn could no longer resist contributing to Durham’s rapidly evolving culinary scene. Luna is the result of his love for Durham, Latin America, and delicious food.
Luna opened four years ago this month, and is a very well-regarded restaurant in Durham. Shawn was welcoming, warm, kind, and honest with his story and his philosophies on what it takes not only to run a successful restaurant, but to run any successful business. Enjoy...