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Beyond Design: What’s Cookin’ with Luke Livengood

Designers are such fascinating people. They ooze with talent. So much so, that it can hardly be contained by a single creative outlet. That’s why we have a periodically recurring blog post like “Beyond Design” that allows us to shine the spotlight on a multi-faceted individual who excels in more than one line of work. So please allow us to introduce Luke Livengood – a designer who is also a restaurateur and executive chef.

Luke Livengood of Salisbury, North Carolina is a very busy guy. He is responsible for operations of his restaurant, Castaways Seafood & Oyster Bar, partner with his father in a catering company called Bite My Butt BBQ, and the owner of a graphic design company called ICANDY Graphic Design.

Luke’s culinary journey.

The story begins in a “fish camp” seafood restaurant where Luke served as a bus-boy in his very first job. An unpleasant start, but later he went to work for a friend who managed Turn 4 Pizza. He soon discovered that he had a knack for cooking and went on to manage another location of the franchise.

After an opportunity to work in a “fine dining” establishment came up, Luke became a dish-washer at Ivan’s Restaurant. At the same time, he became a morning prep-cook for Las Palmas a Tex-Mex establishment. Unsure of a career path, and very tired from two jobs, he focused on Ivan’s and worked his way up to executive chef over the course of about six years.

It was during this time that Luke learned everything he could about restaurant operations and culinary arts. His goal was to one day open a place of his own. In his time off, Luke began to learn how to use graphic design software from Adobe and began designing logos, record labels, tee shirts, CD covers, websites and more for his music group.

Realizing that the music business was a dream that probably would not come true, Luke started designing logos and menus for his “dream” restaurant. Then his life took a dramatic turn – he met a woman who made him accept an important truth: If you want something, you have to go get it.

She helped Luke put together a business plan and he designed all of the necessary graphics—logos, menus, floor plan, signage—the whole nine yards. He even picked out the ideal location, but could not easily find funding. Then, his brother introduced Luke to an investor who was also looking to open a Seafood/Oyster Bar. What a coincidence!

The rest is history – Castaways Seafood & Oyster Bar has been operating successfully for five+ years. The experience allowed Luke to learn the essentials of being a chef, marketing and graphic design. As a self taught chef and designer, Luke emphasizes that experience is the best teacher and that making mistakes and correcting them is the best way to learn.

Luke talks about working with Next Day Flyers.

“Next Day Flyers has been a great resource for me and my businesses. The price is right and the customer service is excellent. In fact, I had submitted my art for one of my first paying clients for business cards, and there was a flaw in the design. I received a call from Next Day Flyers to see if I had intended on the design to be like that or had made a mistake. The representative even sent me a picture of what they had printed so far and allowed me to correct my design. That was definitely the best thing in the world for me at the time.”

Good times in his culinary career.

Luke has cooked for many famous people and their families including:

• Dale Earnhardt’s family

• Michael Winslow (Actor/comedian from the movie Police Academy)

• Bob and Elizabeth Dole


Some of Luke’s favorite experiences are working catering jobs side by side with his father. “Not everyone gets the opportunity to share a passion for stuff like that with their parents,” Luke remembers.

Luke’s advice to young designers and chefs.

“I learn something new every day! I think that if you stop learning, then you might as well give up. There is always something to learn, no matter what you are doing.”


“If you want something, you have got to go get it! Not everyone has the luxury of having things handed over to them. And most of those that do have no idea, unless they were taught otherwise that nothing, absolutely nothing is easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it. I know that sounds cliché, but its true!”

To find out more about Castaways visit their website or their Facebook page!

If you are a graphic designer and would like your other talents featured by Next Day Flyers, as part of Beyond Design, and seen by thousands of people, please submit it here!

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