Chef Ricky Moore, owner of Saltbox Seafood, will be the guest chef at the 2022 Ocracoke Fig Festival Aug. 4 to 6.

The Ocracoke community will celebrate the summer’s fig bounty at the Fig Festival Aug. 4 to 6 with special guest Chef Ricky Moore.

Moore, the self-professed evangelist of North Carolina seafood, is the owner of the popular Saltbox Seafood Joint® restaurants in Durham, North Carolina – praised by Saveur magazine as “a  tiny but mighty seafood shack.”

The Ninth Annual Fig Festival will take place at the Berkley Barn and on the grounds of the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum, who produces the festival.

The festival features live music and storytelling, traditional Ocracoke square dancing, children’s crafts, talks by local fig experts, and vendor booths offering fig preserves, fig cakes, fig trees, local cookbooks, and other “fig-tastic” items. The   weekend’s finale will be a dance with the Ocracoke Rockers.

Moore will be the Fig Festival’s special guest at the Savory Side of Figs Dinner on Thursday evening. This popular event features savory fig dishes from local chefs. This year’s focus will be pairing figs with fresh local seafood, cooked on site by Chef Ricky. Tickets for this dinner will go on sale on July 1.

Other events with Chef Ricky include a book-signing on Friday afternoon and a public Q & A on Saturday.

Chef Ricky will also serve as a guest judge at the Fig Cake Bake-Off, the showpiece of the Fig Festival on Saturday at noon.

All are welcome to submit a cake in one or all categories: Traditional, Innovative, Youth (15 and younger), or the special category for 2022: Fishy Figs – any dish that combines figs with local seafood.

The “Traditional” category is limited to the old-fashioned recipe, available in local cookbooks. Even using the same recipe, there are subtle differences: the type of fig preserves used, the delicate balance of spices, or the cook’s magic touch. Innovative entries must be desserts; anything goes in the Youth category as long as there are figs in it.

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 the original Saltbox Seafood Joint® in Durham in 2012 and a second location, also in Durham, in 2017.

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 a nomination from the James Beard Foundation for “Best Chef” in the Southeast and Discover credit card awarded Saltbox Seafood Joint $25,000 as part of its #EatItForward campaign for black-owned restaurants.

Moore was born and raised in 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 U.S. Army for a decade before attending and graduating from the esteemed Culinary Institute of America.

During the week of the Fig Festival, island restaurants will offer fig-infused menu items both savory and sweet.

Local shops will stock this year’s selection of fig preserves.

For more information, contact Sundae Horn, 252-921-0283, or, or visit

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