The Hunger Games

husband-and-wife duo, claudia ficca and davide luciano, share the inspiration behind their latest compelling art project

When the New York-based food stylist Claudia Ficca teamed with husband Davide Luciano to create a photographic series of catastrophic, yet oddly alluring food tableaux, the duo encountered the trickiest of conditions – swarming bees and heavy rainstorms among them. But for the couple, that was all part of the storytelling.

Luciano, a fine art photographer and filmmaker, captured the shots, while Ficca, a Cherry Bombe collaborator took care of the styling: the idea being to tell the story of "Meals Interrupted", while challenging themselves with its glorious destruction. Of their partnership Ficca says, "Davide is always thinking about his next artistic project and is the one who usually brings the initial inspiration to the table. From that spark we then develop the concept together. We like to go out, have a glass of wine, and talk about each scene in detail – that's our idea of date night."  


Top: Ficca and Luciano pictured at home in New York. Image gallery above: the couple's Meals Interrupted series including Soaked, Tossed, Honeyed, Al Dente and Charred.

Claudia, what ignited your fascination with food? It stems from my grandmother, she is a wonderful cook and does things very meticulously from selecting the best ingredients to shaping the perfect meatball. She takes so much pride in cooking for her family and has a profound respect for every ingredient she touches. In turn, I feel like my aesthetic keeps changing from project to project. I love clean and modern looks as much as I do a rustic mess. I like when food tells a story and I enjoy thinking about that as I am working.

Davide, what drew you to photography and film? School was never a priority nor an interest until I enrolled in film school. I instantly found my passion and a voice to express my views. I fell in love with photography when I decided to challenge myself by creating “mises en scenes” with a single frame.  Film is very much an influence in my photography work, I approach my shoots in the same fashion as I did film – I pre-produce every detail of my scenes and create a backstory for every shot, and I capture a "real" staged moment. I like the challenge of bringing my vision to life without relying on photo manipulation. 

Do you both love to cook and entertain? Claudia: We do, we love having friends and family over. Davide loves to make classic cocktails to start off the evening such as Negronis and Old-Fashioneds. During the summer he makes a deliciously dangerous Averna Arnold Palmer. I love making spaghetti Alle Vongole made with fresh pasta, Manila clams and lots of lemon zest. I love to keep things simple when I'm entertaining and prep ahead of time so I can enjoy sitting at the table with my guests. We also love having pizza parties – Davide makes the dough and I prep a variety of delicious toppings. It's an interactive dinner experience, our friends gather around the kitchen counter and we eat the pizza fresh from the oven with a cold Peroni.


i love spaghetti Alle Vongole with fresh pasta, Manila clams and lemon zest

  2. Ficca's Spaghetti With Clams
  3. Ingredients (serves 4):
  4. 1 pound dried spaghetti
  5. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  7. 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  8. 2 pounds Manila clams, scrubbed
  9. 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  10. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  11. 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  12. zest of 1 lemon
  13. Salt to taste
  15. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil (the water should taste like the ocean). Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Heat olive oil to medium heat in a large pan and add shallots and garlic, sauté until soft about 3 minutes. Add the clams and white wine and cover.  Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until clams have opened. Add half the chopped parsley (1/4 cup) and whisk in butter. Drain pasta and place into the clams pan, mix to combine. Garnish with remaining parsley and the lemon zest and serve.