Growing up, every evening, dinner was on the table by the time Chef Craig Deihl’s father was home from work; his mother, an “unbelievable” cook, graced the family’s table with homespun meals. For Deihl, this table-time ritual remains one of the biggest influences he has had as a chef. Lauded for his rich interpretation of Southern cuisine, he is actually no son of the South – he grew up in Danville, Penn., on a seven-acre farm. But it’s how people relate to food – not their gastronomy – that matters most to Deihl. Deihl would be the first to say that he cooks Southern food with a Pennsylvania accent, placing on Cypress’ menu the same types of dishes his mother would have crafted. At its center are the global flavor profiles he uses of hot, sour, salty, sweet and bitter, combining recipes of his signature menu items and highlighting his simple, eclectic style.
Deihl was chosen in 2010 as Chef of the Year by the Charleston chapter of the American Culinary Foundation. That same year, he was a semi-finalist for a prestigious James Beard Foundation award for best chef Southeast, and was a nominee for the award in 2011 and 2012, as well as a semi-finalist again in 2013. Since 2011, he has led Slow Food Charleston’s Chefs-in-Schools program, which places local chefs in schools and educates students on healthy food choices and he is also a founding member of the Butcher’s Guild, a network of meat professionals that promotes responsible butchering. Through a partnership with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) and farmer Gra Moore of Carolina Heritage Farm, Deihl had the opportunity to be the first chef in over 100 years to utilize the rare American Guinea Hog. This same passion for preserving meat prompted him to adopt the CSA-like concept for meats, Artisan Meat Share (AMS), where participants receive local charcuterie and local farmers, in turn, receive support from the increased product demand. Part of preserving is the commitment to utilizing every part of the animal, and Deihl takes pride in the over 80 types of charcuterie prepared, stored and cured in-house at Cypress and offered at the newest project, Artisan Meat Share (33 Spring St.), where guests can enjoy all that AMS has to offer, all the time.