Robert Cassels

Chef Robert Cassels was born and raised on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. At age 12, Cassels  began working in his godparents’ restaurant, “Antoine’s”, in Victoria, learning the front and back of  house of classic French fine dining. Cassels had his first Chef position at age 19 and soon after travelled  to Paris to stage and learn at small chef-owned restaurants and bakeries. By age 20 he was working  under Chef David Feys, as the Sous Chef at Feys and Hobbs Catering. Before opening his first restaurant  at age 22, Cassels spent time learning and travelling, including the opportunity to stage at Charlie  Trotters in Chicago, however, he is largely self-taught in his technique.  

Ten years ago, Cassels first walked into 658 Herald Street in Victoria, seeking his next venture; he knew  instantly that he had found his new location. An empty shell/former boot factory at the time, Cassels  saw a future vision. For over a year, Cassels worked on building his dream – quite literally; laying floors,  building walls, constructing his bar area, and tirelessly piecing together what would become, Saveur  Restaurant. Burnt wood feature walls, granite bar tops, and bright splashes of local artwork created a  modern meets-urban West Coast ambiance. Saveur offered French-inspired contemporary cuisine  through seasonally inspired five-course tasting menus, a la carte dining, catering, and gourmet brunch.  Cassels works hands-on to created chef-inspired cocktails and hand-picked wine pairings for his tasting  menus. In 2017, Chef Cassels won the Silver Medal for the Provincial Gold Metal Plates in Victoria, B.C.  Soon after, in 2019, Saveur stunned local foodies by winning “Best Restaurant”, “Best Brunch”, and  “Best Fine Dining” awards at the annual Yam Magazine Restaurant Awards.  

Throughout Saveur’s operation, Chef Cassels became well known for his close relationships with farmers  and foragers and for creating seasonally inspired menus, often visiting up to 6 farms a week to handpick  his fresh produce. He often enjoyed foraging in Vancouver Island’s local forests whenever possible.  Sustainability and community involvement has always been important to Chef Cassels, who won  numerous awards through Victoria’s “Colour Your Platte” culinary competition for charity, and never  passed up an opportunity to give back to those in need. Throughout the hardships faced by the  pandemic, Chef Cassels never wavered on his commitment to excellence, or to the community. In 2021  and 2022, he won “Best Plate” in Victoria’s “Hungry Hearts” competition with proceeds benefiting Our  Place Society.  

As of late Chef Cassels made the decision to sell the restaurant, and close Saveur. However, before it’s  closure in July of 2022, Saveur was honored to receive the “Best Upscale Restaurant” award by Victoria’s  Yam Magazine, as well as Cassels himself receiving the award for “Chef of the Year”. Chef Cassels is  enjoying spending missed time with his family but looks forward to his next venture in Victoria.