It’s always exciting to see old iconic buildings brought back to life, and one notable icon is REXKL. Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, this seventy-year-old building survived two fires, and was subsequently abandoned for more than twenty years before local architects Shin Chang and Shin Tseng breathed new life into its structures. REXKL now houses a collective of social enterprises, and urban food and retail merchants.
This is a series highlighting the people behind The Back Ground, the urban food hall located in REXKL.
Where and how did you get started in hospitality?
I was intrigued by the hospitality industry while I was in college. In 2015, I was a graphic designer/digital artist intern in a photography studio. As a “desk job” person, being a barista, working behind the bar and interact with customers was a completely different experience.
I thought, why not take a chance since we only live once. So I decided to venture in the hospitality industry right after my internship. I was 19 years old. My first job was in Comma, a cafe located near where I lived. It was a great experience and I started participating in national competitions yearly to develop my knowledge, skill sets and build up my network. It was a fruitful journey. I have been in the industry for six years now. Still loving it without a doubt.
For those that haven’t visited, tell us a bit more about Stellar in your own words?
Stellar, resembling the “shooting star”. Not all stars are the same; all of them are unique. When we say we shine like the shooting star; we are all distinctive in the ways we are.
Same goes to our coffee, probably the unique (and tasty) single-origin you can get for yourself. By varying those origin characteristics and each cup’s flavour profile, we will have one that matches your taste.
If you had to pick a favourite item on the menu, what would it be?
Hand brew coffee (for coffee lover), and our homemade kombucha (for non-coffee drinker).
Every month we will be featuring different local coffees and coffee roasters. We always appreciate their hard work and showcase their coffees to our customers.
For our kombucha, we are featuring seasonal flavours including jasmine tea, rose lavender, hawthorn osmanthus, basil berries and etc. It’s interesting to put different ingredients together and create a whole new flavour profile in our kombucha!
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What’s the best thing about working in the hospitality industry?
To be aware of your own self-development is key to thrive in the industry. Discover what do you want to achieve, and how can you be better in terms of being a professional barista. Reflecting on all these, you will truly understand what customer would like to experience and learn from the industry.
What keeps you going?
Taking Stellar’s vision into practice – to inspire people and by serving a good cup of coffee as a connection bridge to spread more positivity to people.
What are your hopes for the hospitality industry?
I hope we can have the simplest act of kindness to spread positivity among the industry (especially this challenging time), by being open-minded, respectful and kind to everyone.
Image credit: Stellar