San Diego Culinary Institute

Meeting the Appetite for Culinary Education. When Harold Meyberg, founder of the San Diego Culinary Institute (SDCI), passed away, wife Lili and son David stepped in to assume active management of the school. Together, they needed to carry out Harold's vision for the growing school as well as maintain the impressively high standard of excellence expected by area food providers for SDCI students.

David turned to Gasp to organize their marketing communications materials, administrative and course-related documents around a new concept in culinary education. Instead of training chefs to start at the top of the restaurant food chain, SDCI would train the position of "commis," the entry-level employees who came into a restaurant to work under the chefs and would gradually be given more responsibility as they moved up the kitchen hierarchy. This was a bold idea that required a visually integrated system.

Gasp took a 360ยบ approach to understanding SDCI's needs, conducting interviews with the administrative staff, chef instructors and students, as well as sitting in on cooking classes, business lectures and open house recruitment tours. A marketing plan was then created to chart all the required elements and determine a timeline for development and deployment.

Gasp's strategy was to convince prospective students that knife skills were more important than menu concepts to gain entry-level employment in the area's finer restaurants.


In addition to developing the marketing strategy for SDCI, Gasp developed print, online, radio and television advertising, marketing brochures and course documentation. Gasp also worked with SDCI to develop a stronger recruitment effort, writing scripts for their open house tours and student initiation meetings.


Within two years, San Diego Culinary Institute doubled its student population, requiring the addition of two chef instructors and two administrative staff members to handle the volume. voted SDCI the number one culinary school in California. SDCI is now on track to receive its ACCET accreditation.


David Badagliacca (San Diego Culinary Institute), client
Harry Webber, Angela Glenn, creative direction
Harry Webber, copywriting
Angela Glenn, Dena Benavidez, design
Michael Yada (Yada/Levine), video editing
Phil Woo (Queen Beach Printing), print services
George Haggarty (Main Graphics), direct mail print and fulfillment