Seven Sows Bourbon and Larder
77 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
Mike Moore came to cooking by a less conventional route: a detour from a six-year career in law enforcement with the Raleigh Police Department. Raised on a small family farm in Elm City, North Carolina, Moore had cultivated deep roots, metaphorically and literally, in food and agriculture. Closer to a decade into law enforcement, that passion emerged.
In his challenging, yet exciting, career change, Moore first traveled to San Francisco, where he attended the California Culinary Academy and worked in kitchen under Chef Peter Armellino at the Aqua and Chef Chris Cosentino at Incanto. Moore next made his way to Asheville, North Carolina, to continue work as a line cook and chef. He made a much farther leap in 2009, visiting eastern France to assist longtime friend and mentor Chef Jean Lucielle with the opening of Rouge et Blanc, one of the first French gastropubs in the region.
Returning to Asheville in 2010, Moore helped conceive the Blind Pig Supper Club, a fine-dining fundraising organization, which later held its first dinner in 2011. A collaboration of different chefs in the community, Blind Pig embodies the spirit of Asheville, creating a food scene built on creativity and directed toward the wellness of locals. In February 2013, Moore continued forging his path with the opening of Seven Sows Bourbon and Larder, a restaurant dedicated to Carolina crops and showcasing the American South.
Why: I like what it brings to the community.
Interview with Community Chef Mike Moore of Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder – Asheville, NC
Caroline Hatchett: What inspired you to pursue cooking professionally?
Mike Moore: I traded in Raleigh, a badge, and a gun for San Francisco (Moore was a police officer); I went surfing and went to work at restaurants, then I went to school and met my wife. I moved back to North Carolina in 2004, with a group up in eastern Carolina, subsistence farming. There’s a deep history of food [in Carolina]. There are lots of cultural things that are specific to this area.
CH: How long have you been in Asheville?
MM: I’ve been in Asheville for 10 years. Seven Sows opened in February . It was funded by me and a partner.
CH: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do in your career?
MM: Change careers in my 20s with a late start. Living in San Francisco for $10 an hour, and giving up a pension. That’s the hardest thing ever done.
CH: How are you involved in your local culinary community?
MM: Blind Pig brought together a lot of different chefs in the community to raise money for different charities. The element of competition was taken away. More is gained from collaboration than competition. We’ve become friends. I let chefs borrow any product—quality foie gras, oysters. The Blind Pig does that. For three to five years, there was no mailing list. It was word of mouth. It’s on Facebook now.
It’s once or twice a month. Blind Pig pays for everything from ticket sales…a specific amount goes to charity; the venue is donated. A lot of clubs have spun off. The American Grocery guy started one in Greenville inspired by it, and farm to table event companies. A lot of the time, people don’t realize it’s so much work. You’ll not make money and you bust your ass. The intention is to bring people together and create a food scene. It’s built on creativity. We work off each other’s ideas.
CH: Does the supper club have something to do with the spirit of Asheville?
MM: This town has seen a slow evolution of accepting things that are outside the box. There’s an excess of country clubs and we couldn’t take it anymore. No out of the box restaurants; you were condemned for creativity.