Knifes Edge : Steven John - Empty Plates

Knifes Edge : Steven John - Empty Plates

The food which is paired with wine, is one of the pillars that completes the overall dining experience. In our blog series; ‘The Knife's Edge’, we get personal with some of the chefs who showcase their talents at some of the most exciting dining establishments in Thailand and around the world. It’s with their patronage to Natural wine that the consumer can truly experience a marriage of food and terroir driven ideals.

This month, we are honored to have Steven John; Founder of Empty Plates Bangkok to give us insight into his food, journey and wine!

Give us a little insight on your Empty Plates establishment?

Heya! I am Steven John. Chef & founder of Empty Plates. Born near Zurich, Switzerland & moved to Bangkok around 10 years ago. Half Thai, half Swiss, I started my career in the financial industry while running a small music studio on the side, moved over to recruitment & coaching before saying goodbye to the corporate world last year to persuade cooking, which is my true passion. Its in the family I guess since my mother & my aunts are former restaurant chefs, so I always grew up around good food, food that was different to a common swiss household. I really, really got into cooking in deep depths about 4 years ago. I always liked to cook but not like this, I started to become obsessed with it & I taught myself the 100 recipes of Gordon Ramsay’s cooking class on youtube in roughly 3 weeks, to get a basic, fundamental skill level. After repeating those recipes over and over. I just cooked classics, dishes I missed from Europe. Finally I began to create my own creations. After a year or so of experimenting, I started to write down recipes & ideas because I felt I kind of discovered my style of food I want to cook. All of this led to Empty Plates, which is a 1o seat, home chefstable where I serve 7 & 9 course tasting meals 3 times a week. It’s basically a dream come true for me, all I ever wanted is to serve my food to people in my own little setting.

What are your thoughts on the green movement and sustainability?

I am a big fan of plant based cooking, so more power to that! I do plant based tastings twice a month & hopefully it will be even more in the future.

Regarding sustainability, it is a topic that is deeper than most people think I believe. We have exhaustedly overpowered mother nature over centuries now, how much fertile is our soil going to be? What is truly sustainable for future generations to come? So instead of answering your question, I asked a few back to you.

 In my opinion vertical farming & solar powered floating farms are the solutions for true sustainability in urban areas to fulfill the demand of the masses.

What is the future of food?

Nobody knows 😊 but I believe home kitchens will become more popular, plant based cuisine will be as well


Favorite dish you have tried and where?

It was about 3 years ago at 80|20 in Bangkok, it was a savory durian custard with 1 or 2 other durian components & river prawn if I remember correctly. That dish was insanely delicious, best I ever had.


Is a hotdog a sandwich?

A hotdog is a hotdog. Period.

But a debate could be started with what is a burger and what is a sandwich


Why should patrons come to dine at Empty Plates?

Every person who appreciates good, honest & creative food should give us a try. We source the best available local, organic ingredients for our tastings & offer natural wines to go along with the dishes we serve. Each dinner experience at Empty Plates is unique, we constantly change our menu & take hospitality to another place. We are not a traditional restaurant but at the forefront of the home kitchen|chefstable experience here in Bangkok.

 Where do you see yourself 5 years from now.

Being in a better position to help others (Thailand’s youth) than what I can do currently. Right now it’s a grind to establish myself in a new industry to me.


Three wines you recommend from the Naturalista shelf :