Although Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Bangkok and beyond have eased considerably, the trend towards “dining in”, in the comfort and safety of your own abode, is definitely gaining traction in our current post-pandemic climate. Of course, dining at home doesn’t necessarily mean giving up the gourmet chef experience one gets at a restaurant, which is why the enterprising chefs listed below are doing so well as of late.
CHEF OLIVIER LIMOUSIN
Born and raised in France, Olivier Limousin’s passion for cooking took shape while helping his grandmother in the family kitchen. At 18 he began his professional career at Le Bellecour, in Paris, which became the first of many Michelin-starred restaurants to appear on his resumé. In 2004 he was part of the opening team of La Table de Joël Robuchon in Paris, and in 2015 he relocated to Thailand to helm Bangkok’s own L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, which earned a star in the inaugural edition of Thailand’s Michelin Guide, but sadly closed in 2019. Thankfully – as anyone who has sampled his cooking will agree – chef Olivier stayed in Siam where he launched L’Executif Chef, an exclusive private dining concept. “I’m very flexible with the menu and always aim to please my guests,” he says, adding that he can easily cater to dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and no-beef diets.
CHEF STEVEN JOHN
Hailing from just outside Zürich, Steven John is a self-taught chef – with a Thai-Swiss background – who relocated to Bangkok just over 10 years ago. Although his professional career began with a stint in the financial industry, he left to pursue cooking, his true passion. In 2018 he launched Empty Plates, a private dining, set menu experience operating out of his 23rd floor condo in Lad Phrao. His gift for inventing seriously amazing dishes – both in terms of taste and presentation – soon garnered him a loyal foodie following. In 2020, however, the pandemic lockdown put the brakes on the original Empty Plates concept, but the brand stayed alive as demand kept rising for private dining gigs, which is now the sole focus. “It’s currently two to three events per week for us,” Steven explains. “We start with a minimum of 10 people, and can go up to 50 if the location is properly equipped.”
CHEF SHUNPEI TAKIZAWA
In mid-December of 2020, the Juban Group officially welcomed to Thailand chef Shunpei Takizawa, from the two-Michelin-star Sushi Ginza Onodera restaurant in Los Angeles. Now residing in Bangkok, this acclaimed kitchen maestro currently finds himself in the position of head chef at the recently opened Juban Omakase restaurant in Phaya Thai. And while making a trip to this elegantly appointed dining spot is certainly recommended, you can also have the chef prepare a premium omakase feast right in the privacy of your own home (THB 6,000++ per person, minimum two persons). The elaborately prepared and plated meal consists of 8-10 sushi pieces, 8-10 appetizer dishes, one plated meal, and dessert. And because of Takizawa’s extensive experience working in Los Angeles, he is fluent in English and can fully explain the intricacies of each course.
At-home fine-dining experiences should also take into account vacation villa rentals, which is where Chada Culinary comes in. Operating out of Koh Samui – with a Bangkok office as well – they offer high-end private chef’s table experiences in locations throughout the Kingdom (arranged as needed). Culinary director Jeremy Simeon, from New Zealand, brings with him a decade of luxury hospitality and chef experience, while co-founder and sous chef Jitlada “Tang” Sirachadapong creates inspired and diverse dishes. Their seasonal Thai Omakase menu consists of 5-8 courses, including: Thai scallop ceviche; coconut smoked duck breast with pickled grape and red curry; and Tom Yum tuile with roasted chilli jam, young mango, and cucumber. Each menu is individually designed, starting at THB 2,800 per person for 4-12 diners.