Restaurants / Openings

More Than a Private Chef — DFW Culinary Wiz Retakes Control of Her Meal and Food Lifestyle Service, Adds Major Partner

Deb Cantrell Reboots Savor Culinary

BY // 07.29.20

Deb Cantrell opened Savor Culinary 18 years ago this August. The business was always far more than a private chef or meal-prep service. It offered food intolerance testing and Cantrell took into account all aspects of her clients’ lives when setting up her service ― including their specific dietary needs, schedules, travel, family makeup and individual health goals.

Over the years, Cantrell branched out into a restaurant coaching and consulting business as well. Chef Deb guides chefs and restaurateurs through every aspect of building their business, from concept development to bookkeeping and marketing. It took off and her courses booked up and the speaking engagements intensified.

“I love growing people’s businesses,” Cantrell tells PaperCity Fort Worth.

That’s why less than a year ago, she decided to step away from Savor Culinary and refocus her energies. She sold the business lock, stock and barrel ― but that sale, for lack of a better term, didn’t “take” so well.

Rather than watch the thriving business that she had poured so many years into slowly fail and the core clients that she had developed lifelong relationships with flounder, Cantrell decided to take over ownership of Savor Culinary once again. And she’s added a familiar face to the ownership team ― local chef Steve Mitchell.

Mitchell crafted the menu of Bistro 1031 in Aledo, before turning over the kitchen. He remains part of the ownership of Bistro 1031, but as chance would have it, he was looking for his next big adventure when Savor fell back into Cantrell’s lap. Both have a desire to further the relationship-based business and see it grow. Now, they are co-owners in it.

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Chef’s Deb Cantrell and Steve Mitchell. (Photo by Nancy Farrar).

Savor’s core services will still remain the same ― prepared meal delivery, catering and food intolerance testing, along with providing “culinary medicine” to its clients. Both Cantrell and Mitchell truly believe that food improves your quality of life and has the power to heal.

In fact, that’s the reason for Savor’s very existence. Cantrell’s own son led her path. When her son was 18 months old, she began to notice developmental issues and says “his social skills were off, with a noticeable lack of eye contact.”

When Cantrell’s son was 4 years old, he received a medical diagnosis categorizing him as high functioning autistic with severe ADHD.

“I was told that he would never learn to tie his own shoes or be able to walk in a straight line. That’s when I began researching and found food intolerance testing and changed his diet completely,” Cantrell says. “He became a completely different kid.”

Today her son is 21 years old, and proudly serving in the U.S. Army ― having been deployed to Iraq. He does not exhibit any signs of a high functioning autistic person. Cantrell truly believes diet and nutrition healed him.

With her training at the Culinary Business Academy, Culinary Institute of America and the Culinary School of Fort Worth, she launched Savor Culinary. The initial concept behind Savor was to support those with specific ailments — and that remains the mission.

However, Cantrell and Mitchell plan to branch out into more of a comprehensive, lifestyle brand ― where their personalized, prepared meals are a way of life for their clients.

“Nutrition and education are the mission ― personalized to fit into the lifestyle of each client,” Cantrell says.

“For me personally,” Steve Mitchell says, “I had a friend die last year, and that’s when I realized I needed to make changes for myself. Evaluating and changing my diet has helped me personally. I have more energy, health and happiness in my life.”

Savor Culinary, which services all of the Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond, will offer more nutritional education as well as more highly-customized meals for each individual family member.

They want their culinary concierge service to truly fit into client’s lifestyle rather than just amassing customers who need dinner on the table.

Savor aims to be their customers’ go-to for all things food and health, and to serve them in all occasions ― whether it’s a family dinner, a fancy party on their yacht, or a private chef to keep them on track while on vacation.

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