CAA is looking to bite off a bigger piece of the ever-expanding business of food and celebrity chefs with the launch of CAA Culinary.
The marketing and hospitality unit will focus on developing a range of partnerships and business opportunities for food-centric CAA clients. Andrew Chason, manager and founder of the foodie talent firm Vector Eats, has joined CAA to run the new division.
“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,” Chason said. “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.”
Chason brings to the agency such celebrity foodies as Aarón Sánchez, John Besh, Amanda Freitag, Andrew Carmellini, Alon Shaya, Alex Thomopoulos and Jonathan Waxman. The agency’s roster already includes Gordon Ramsay, Roy Choi, Christina Tosi, Nancy Silverton, Ted Allen and Carla Hall, among others.
“CAA Culinary marries CAA’s global resources, innovative-thinking, and collaborative approach to provide clients with a single-source entrée into culinary marketing and hospitality,” said CAA managing partner Kevin Huvane. “Andrew Chason is among the most accomplished executives in food.”
CAA’s recent activity in the space includes setting a merchandising partnership for the ubiquitous Ramsay with Royal Doulton for a line of home and lifestyle products, and a deal with GLU Mobile for the mobile game “Gordon Ramsay DASH.”
The focus on food is another sign of expansion and diversification at Hollywood’s largest talent agencies. WME-IMG is formidable in the food arena with its roster of star chefs and IMG’s event business that includes the staging of food and wine festivals around the country.