Since arriving in Bangkok, Dimitrios Moudios has captivated culinary enthusiasts with a string of guest chef appearances, becoming executive chef of Lahnyai and opening his restaurant Ore earlier this year. In the culinary scene since he was 14, BK spoke with Dimitrios about his impressive career and what lies ahead.  
Can you tell us about your background?   
I’ve been cooking for 14 years, so since the age of 14. I’m from Greece, originally. I moved to Germany and started cooking at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Atelier, in Munich. I enjoyed it, but it was hard because I wasn’t ready for it. It was my first job. 
Did you know at 14 you wanted to be a chef?   
No. I went to Germany for football and quickly realized I didn’t quite meet the German standards. After that, I didn’t know what to do, and this restaurant opportunity came up, so I went for it. While growing up, I did look at what my mom was doing in the kitchen, but I never really wanted to become a chef or anything. In Germany, the education system is very different. It’s more about finding a job first and then attending school once a week. After Munich, I went to live in Copenhagen, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Chile, and right before I moved to Thailand, I lived in Berlin for a year and a half.   
Why did you decide to settle in Bangkok?  
So I didn’t plan to settle or have this longing of wanting to move to Bangkok. It wasn’t until Chef Ton approached me and offered me an investment opportunity for Ore. It was an opportunity too good to say no. 
How did the process of planning Ore start? 
For Ore, everything from the interior to the pottery to the chairs was either designed or co-designed by me. So, while the restaurant was building, designing and finding the right artists took a lot of my time. But luckily we managed to find all our designers in Thailand. During the two years of planning Ore, I looked at different opportunities to keep myself engaged. One opportunity came up with Lahnyai; at the time, it was a restaurant where Chef Ton and I weren’t entirely happy with its direction. Chef Ton then encouraged me to take the concept and shape it according to what I wanted, offering me an executive chef position. 
Where does the name Ore come from? 
While the designs were underway, I still didn’t have a name for the restaurant, which I found was the most challenging part of the restaurant. Everything that was coming to my mind was very lame. So I called my mom, and she said, "Why don’t you call it Ore." The name Ore derives from the Greek term “something you like.” It’s funny how we brainstormed for so long and this name came out of nowhere within seconds.  
What’s the concept behind Ore?  
I’ve always been drawn to the simplicity and elegance of a minimalist Japanese lifestyle, and that philosophy influenced my vision for Ore. But in Thailand, it’s very tough to do something minimal because people don’t really like vegetables, and I wanted to center Ore’s menu around vegetables. The main focus of the restaurant is the water. So, every two days, we bring fresh spring water sourced from Sai Yok that’s untouched by machinery or any metallic parts, ensuring a pure base for cooking and serving guests. This water is very plain, and there is almost no taste. For instance, one of our dishes is just sweet potato cooked in water and nothing else, and we get the cooking liquid of the sweet potato reduced. So the sauce tastes a lot like sweet potato because the water doesn’t have an actual taste. This creates a minimalist way of cooking that is easier because you start with an extremely pure base. And all our vegetables are organic because you need good quality vegetables to cook this way.  This minimalist concept extends beyond the menu to the restaurant's design. Uniforms are by Issey Miyake. I know that Ore’s minimalism may polarize opinions. It evokes strong reactions, with guests either loving or hating it; there’s no in-between. 
What do you think people will hate?  
Because you either see the beauty of it or you don’t. Many people could say, ‘I can cook a sweet potato in water at home.’ But you can’t cook this sweet potato with this water at home, and that’s the difference. So you either see the beauty in its simplicity or not. But I’m okay with both because I’m trying to do something new in the culinary world. That doesn’t really exist, and I’m okay with people saying ‘it’s not my thing’ because I’d rather pursue my passion and push boundaries in this industry. So if it fails, it’s all on me. I don’t want to do something that’s just in between or just existing. I also feel fortunate to have this opportunity because I came from a country with many economic challenges. And to get this opportunity to do whatever I want. Only a few people get this opportunity.  
You’re also doing something very different with the drink pairings. 
Thai spirit and beverage pairings were done by teaming up with Dominik Jurasz. We didn’t want to do wine pairings because so many restaurants are doing it, and the wine pairings are usually imported. The guests that come to Ore have the money to go to France or Spain for good wine. So, we’ve done an alcohol pairing based only on spirits and beverages produced in Thailand, and it’s nice to push small businesses.  
What else would you like our readers to know? 
Ore has a very minimal approach to everything, and I want this concept to stand out because, right now, we’re entering a new era where we’re always thinking about what we can add to a dish to make it nicer. That’s the goal of Lahnyai and most famous restaurants around the world. But for Ore, I think the exact opposite; I’m thinking about what I can take away for it to look nicer. I want to make it as simple as possible so everyone can focus on just one ingredient to put on a plate. I want people to know that my team and I researched where to find produce, how to source it, and the best place to get it. To reduce it to the absolute minimum.  
This is beautiful but very hard to do. 
It is very hard! For instance, Lahnyai takes more of a trendy approach to dishes; for Ore, it is way more difficult for me to handle because it is hard to cook just one ingredient and do it well because you can’t hide behind anything. Covering the dish with plenty of ingredients makes it easier to make it look and taste good. If we take away those accessories, they will have to surprise their guests in other ways: vegetables take center stage, and herbs become the main attraction.  
What’s next for you? Are there any plans you can share with us?  
Dylan (owner of restaurant Haawm) and I hope to do a permanent place later this year, building on our pop-up Krung—something more relaxed and enjoyable. We’re looking at somewhere around Charoenkrung or Yaowarat, somewhere with a bigger space, because Haawm can take only 16 guests, Ore can take eight guests, and Lahnyai can take 14, so definitely something bigger.  

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