CAA's Delicious New Expansion: Agency Launches CAA Culinary
Veteran culinary talent manager Andrew Chason is coming on board to head the new division
In the ever-expanding reach of Hollywood's mega-agencies, CAA is cooking up a new area of practice. The agency is launching CAA Culinary, a full-service culinary marketing and hospitality division that will focus on creating an array of food-related business opportunities across multiple areas, including television, publishing, digital, corporate consulting and sponsorship, licensing and merchandising and events.
Joining CAA to lead the new division is talent manager Andrew Chason, co-founder of culinary-focused agency Vector Eats. He's bringing clients Aaron Sanchez, John Besh, Amanda Freitag, Andrew Carmellini, Alon Shaya, Alex Thomopoulos and Jonathan Waxman to join a roster of top chefs and food personalities at CAA that already includes Gordon Ramsay, Roy Choi, Duff Goldman, Christina Tosi, Tyler Florence, Curtis Stone, Ted Allen, Carla Hall, Richard Blais, Katie Lee, Graham Elliott, Nancy Silverton and Michael Mina.
"CAA is the gold standard in entertainment and sports, and I couldn't be more excited to join the team," Chason said in a statement. "From the surge in popularity of high-profile chefs and food-based television to the explosion of culinary festivals around the world, food culture is as prominent in the zeitgeist as entertainment, fashion or sports. As food and chefs increasingly become a fundamental part of pop culture and consumers place a higher value on experiences, rather than material goods, we see tremendous growth opportunities in this area of business."
CAA's prior deals in the food space include partnerships for Ramsay with Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and GLU Mobile, as well as the mobile game Gordon Ramsay DASH and the chef's new production banner Studio Ramsay. For Ace of Cakes star Goldman, the agency helped create a Garner Studios line of cake mixes and decorating tools, among other product collections, and Cakemix, a Melrose Ave. bakery and DIY cake-decorating studio. CAA also brokered Allen's multiyear pact to host the Food Network's Chopped and Chopped Jr. and helped Bethenny Frankel expand her Skinnygirl brand into a number of categories that now include nonalcoholic beverages, hummus and candy.
The agency's year-old CAA Premium Experience has executed more than 200 culinary events, including private catered dinners, meet-and-greets, cooking demonstrations and high-end tailgates. Other culinary-related ventures have involved the agency's sports consulting group, CAA Marketing (whose Cultivate campaign for Chipotle has won four Cannes Grand Prix) and the television division, which has packaged Young & Hungry, Hotel Hell, Next Great Restaurant, Food Court Wars, The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Guilty Pleasures.
"CAA Culinary marries CAA's global resources, innovative thinking and collaborative approach to provide clients with a single-source entree into culinary marketing and hospitality," CAA managing partner Kevin Huvane said in a statement. "Andrew Chason is among the most accomplished executives in food, and we are thrilled to have him guide the efforts of this group and further solidify our position as the leader in the epicurean space."