There are many reasons why a chef finds his or her way into the kitchen. Who we are, who we become, begins at birth. The people we love, the people we meet and the circumstances of our lives continually shape us. Sometimes we arrive at our destiny by accident, but more often the path is unfurling before us as we move forward. If a chef’s food is his signature, then his evolution is his unique story.
Subject: Craig DeihlExecutive Chef — Cypress
Origins: Danville, PennsylvaniaBorn into a large family in a small rural town. Raised in a Norman Rockwell landscape of family and farm.
Education: Columbia-Montour Area Vocational-Technical School
Johnson and Wales, Charleston
Evolution: Raised in a family that emphasized the importance of the family meal, Craig (in the 8th and 9th grades) took over as Mom’s backup chef when she went to nursing school. His mother’s encouragement, led him to the culinary program at Columbia-Montor. He earned his culinary/hospitality degree at Johnson-Wales in Charleston before the age of 21.
Culinary Passion: Charcuterie! Raised in a rural environment where the practice of “waste not, want not” is an economic necessity, it is a natural fit. Craig will be the first to give credit to Frank Lee and the staff at High Cotton for inspiring him to pursue his interest further. Craig credits Lee with bringing charcuterie back into Charleston’s culinary forefront. Frank Lee will be the first to tell you that Craig has taken the art of charcuterie to new heights.
Passionate Distractions: Snowboarding, Photography and 4 year old daughter Keegan. Not necessarily in that order.
Guilty Pleasure: The Busman’s Holiday. Much to his wife’s dismay, many of Craig’s family travels involve volunteer estaging at restaurants that he admires. Recently in New York he worked in the kitchens of Union Pacific and Gotham Bar.
Guiding Philosophy: Strong work ethic. Working in his youth along side his siblings on his Grandpa’s farm, Craig learned that team work and physical labor are vital to the success of any endeavor. His hands on “farm to table” childhood gave him a passion for sharing the story of food with tables at his restaurant. So often we are disconnected with our food sources and Craig wants to change that.
What the Future Holds: Definitely meat. Craig is passionately committed to the art of Charcuterie. Not only is it an expression of personal creativity, it is an homage to a food source. His loyalty to local hog farmers and heritage varietals of pigs is a show of respect to the Lowcountry, his culinary home. His loyalty to his craft extends to Cypress which he opened 12 years ago with the Hospitality Management Group, Inc. and does not foresee any changes in his future that do not include this very simpatico relationship.
Good Luck, Craig! EAT THIS! is anxiously awaiting your next great endeavor.