Kitchen Design

Kristy Mucci on Food Styling Tips and Techniques

October 17, 2014

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Today: We chat with Kristy Mucci of and A Standard of Living about food styling and her flea market finds.

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Kristy Mucci is a freelance stylist, editor, writer, and video producer who isn't slowing down anytime soon. A former associate editor here at Food52, she spends her days styling and writing for a number of well-regarded clients including Gather Journal, Cherry Bombe, and Good Company. So it's a rare occasion when she stops and sits still. Even so, Kristy is the kind of girl we wish we could be. Stylish, smart, and personable, she recently lauched A Standard of Living, a site focused on style and good taste, with her friend Alice Gao

We recently chatted with Kristy about her food styling techniques, tips, and tricks.

What’s your biggest food styling pet peeve?
This is more of an overall styling thing, but I hate seeing scented candles anywhere near food.

What can we always find in your kitchen?
Food-wise: preserved lemons, dark chocolate, Champagne, and amaro.  

Design-wise: things organized neatly.

What props are your secret weapons? 
I don't know if they can be considered secret weapons but I am obsessed with and can't stop collecting vintage silverware, and anything related to tea. Teapots, teacups and saucers, strainers, all the tools for matcha, and now I'm hunting for delicate gaiwans with matching cups. 

What’s the best “find” you’ve ever gotten at a flea market or vintage store?
A set of 8 champagne coupes with a gold pattern that I actually like -- I'm not usually into designs on glassware, but these work. I love using them. 

Any tips for shopping flea markets? 
Patience is key, and it pays off. Dig through any pile that looks remotely interesting to you, because you never know what you might find. I could spend hours digging through bins full of vintage silverware. 

More: Kickstart your vintage kitchenware collections with this pie and cake server.

What's one thing we can do to make all of our food pictures instantly better?
If you're using a camera phone, make sure things are in focus. Blurry food and plates aren't nice to look at, and no Instagram filter can fix that.

What's one thing we can do to make our kitchens instantly better?
Be selective about what gets to live on your counter. The cleaner the space, the better. 

How do you bring your design to life on your website?
I like things to be clean and minimal. Simple is best. I never want a page to be cluttered, and I think both of my sites -- my portfolio and A Standard of Living -- exemplify that. They're easy to navigate, and there's never too much going on on any page. 

Photos of fennel and carrots and Kristy by Kristy Mucci, photo of cookies by James Ransom.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Simply Recipes, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.


CarlaCooks October 20, 2014
3x yes to scented candles near food! I NEVER use scented candles in the dining room; my food should be the enticing smell, not fake cinnamon or vanilla.
Dith October 19, 2014
Love love love her photos!
Deactivated October 18, 2014
In my opinion, an Instagram filter is never a good idea. Keep things looking natural! I know for a fact your lettuce wasn't orange, so please don't think you're fooling me with those filters.