Craig Deihl of Cypress may not have won the Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast this year, but the two-time finalist now has an even better chance at winning in the future. The category resulted in a tie between two perennial nominees: Linton Hopkins (Restaurant Eugene) and Hugh Acheson (Five and Ten). Now that these guys have gotten their due, that leaves room for Deihl to come in for the win (next year!).

We got a quick interview with Deihl, courtesy of his wife Colleen, after the ceremony. It follows:

  • Craig Deihl on the red carpet

A late afternoon lunch at Butter with the Southern Mafia led to the buying of a flask before the James Beard Awards on Monday evening.

Colleen: What did you buy for your flask?
Craig: Hudson Rye Whiskey.

Colleen: How many soft-shell crabs did you eat at lunch?
Craig: Four. Everyone was leaving to get ready for the awards, and we found ourselves at an empty table with a platter of them. So good!

Colleen: How nervous were you when you were walking the red carpet?
Craig: I felt pretty comfortable at that point.

Colleen: Who was sitting in front of us at the awards?
Craig: The entire Vetri team from Philly, nominated for outstanding restaurant.

Colleen: How do you feel about Best Chef Southeast ending in a tie with Linton Hopkins and Hugh Acheson winning?
Craig: Wow! They both are so deserving. I’m sure they both wanted their own individual moment to shine…. I may not have won, but being their and seeing your name on the big screen is a win.

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