Chef Ricky Moore – the self-professed evangelist of North Carolina seafood and James Beard Foundation winner for “Best Chef Southeast” – is the owner of the popular Saltbox Seafood Joint® in Durham, North Carolina – praised by Saveur as “a tiny but mighty seafood shack.” Taking inspiration from the famous wet markets in Singapore, Moore focuses purely on the food inspired by his native Carolina coast, and its traditional roadside fish shacks and camps.
Moore opened Saltbox Seafood Joint® in Durham, NC in 2012. Accolades in Garden & Gun, Our State and Travel + Leisure followed, and in 2019, Moore debuted the Saltbox Seafood Joint® Cookbook – with 60 recipes celebrating his coastal culinary heritage. In 2020, as one of the region’s most admired chefs, Moore received his first nomination for “Best Chef” in the Southeast and Discover awarded Saltbox Seafood Joint® $25,000 as part of its #EatItForward campaign for black-owned restaurateurs. Today, Saltbox Seafood is included in MOFAD’s Black History Month exhibit, “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table.” And in 2007, as Executive Chef at Agraia in Washington DC (now known as Founding Farmers), Moore’s reputation earned him a spot competing against Chef Michael Symon on “Iron Chef America.” Today Moore continues to fulfill his lifelong dream as an entrepreneur, professional, and preserver of North Carolina fisherman and foodways, and serves on the Advisory Board for the NC Sea Grant.
Ricky Moore was born and raised in the North Carolina coastal town of New Bern, where catching and eating fresh fish and shellfish is a way of life. He draws inspiration from his Eastern North Carolina culinary background, as well as from culinary experiences across the globe. Moore was introduced to German cooking at a young age as a “Military Brat,” growing up in Germany, and from his German Mother-in-law, and he served as a cook in the US Army for a decade before attending and graduating from the esteemed Culinary Institute of America. Kitchen stints from some of the world’s most prestigious kitchens across the globe followed – including Le Tarbouche, IndeBleu, Vidalia, Lespinasse, Equinox, Agraria (now called Founding Farmers) in Washington, DC, and Frontera Grill, Charlie Trotter’s, and Tru in Chicago. Moore also served as Executive chef and Instructor at the Parrot Cage Restaurant in the Washburne Culinary Institute, and Executive Chef of South Water Kitchen. Moore’s tenure at two-star Michelin-rated Apicius in Paris with Jean-Pierre Vigato, Le Cerf in Alsace with Michel Husser, and Le Violin d’Ingres in Paris with Christian Constant, Daniel in New York City, and Cuisine of India in Toronto with Shishir Sharma, further polished his culinary technique, perspective and ambition to own restaurants of his own.