VB&P Adds California Culinary Academy Account

Expanding its client roster, and perhaps eventually the waistlines of its staff members, Venables, Bell & Partners has added the California Culinary Academy’s ad business.

The San Francisco agency won the cooking school’s account after a review of Northern California shops. VB&P will design a roughly $3 million campaign to run primarily in Northern California, sources said.

There was no incumbent, and CCA has done minimal advertising in the past, sources said.

“The first thing that matters about a client is that they are nice and smart, and they are both,” agency president and co-founder Paul Venables said of CCA. “Plus, the subject matter is awesome because people are passionate about food, and you are talking about training chefs. … And we’ll have some great lunches over there.”

The campaign will include print and TV ads aimed at recruiting students, the agency said.

Venables, shop president Bob Molineaux and account planner Lucy Farey-Jones pitched the account.

CCA, located in San Francisco, is owned by the Career Education Corp. The school trains chefs in a 75,000-square-foot facility that includes two restaurants. Many of its students go on to work at prestigious restaurants and hotels.

“If you name any high-end restaurant in the Bay Area, a student [from CCA] will have worked there in a key role,” Venables said.

Executives at the client could not be reached for comment.

VB&P was founded a little more than a year ago. It began with Microsoft’s $50 million UltimateTV account and has since added HBO Home Video, Barclays Global Investors and several smaller accounts. It also made the finals of the IHOP and Mondavi wine pitches and is in the finals of the review for The North Face.

“We’re getting the calls, which is the important thing,” Venables said. “I think it’s because we’ve done good work for our clients. We’ve made it deep into pitches where no other San Francisco agencies were standing. Now we just need to work on closing the deal.”