Claudia Ficca: A food stylist’s secret photo recipe

Food stylist Claudia Ficca shares the tools she keeps on hand while photographing what's in-hand.

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…obsessively looking through 100 strawberries to find the perfect one.

Who are you, and what do you make.

I’m a food stylist based in NYC — I make food look pretty for the camera. I started doing this in my native Montreal, then moved to NYC for bigger and better opportunities. It’s been a great decision. I’ve worked on numerous ad campaigns, editorials, cooking shows, commercials, cookbooks. I also collaborate on many artistic projects with my husband photographer Davide Luciano. Together, we created the series: Meals Interrupted, Cold Feet, Gourmet Mouse Trap and All Food and No Play. What’s next? A TV show in the works, a cookbook collaboration, and exhibit in Denmark — lots of exciting projects on the horizon.

What do you keep on hand at all times?

Tweezers, paint brushes, all kinds of spatulas, spray bottles, squeeze bottles, searzall (a modified blowtorch). I was recently on a location job without the use of a kitchen and the client wanted to see various option of roasted meats like lamb chops, roasted chicken, rib roast. I used the searzall to roast everything by hand.


Walk us through a typical day on set with you.

I arrive to set and organize all the ingredients that I’ve previously purchased. I look over the recipes for that day, go through my kit, and pull out all the tools that I know I will be using. Set up my set tray. I have a chat with the team: photo editor or creative director and photographer and prop stylist about the the shots for the day, what we intend to shoot when. Line up the recipes and get to work cooking, baking or obsessively looking through 100 strawberries to find the perfect one. Every job is different so my specific tasks really depend on what we are working on that day. I alternate my time between the kitchen and the set.

Lastly — describe your perfect sandwich.

Fresh panino with thinly sliced mortadella, provolone cheese, sliced tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil — all on a paper towel.

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