Go behind the scenes at a cookbook photo shoot in New York City, where a team of photographers and stylists brought The Secret Ingredient Cookbook to life!

A white wall containing all of the photos from The Secret Ingredient Cookbook photo shoot

How a Cookbook is Photographed

Have you ever wondered how cookbook recipes are photographed? It’s a fascinating process to transform a written manuscript into a visual work of art, requiring the expertise and precision of many to create photographs that look good enough to eat.

In February of 2020, I spent a week in New York City to watch my manuscript for The Secret Ingredient Cookbook go from words to photographs; more than 80 photographs, to be exact! 

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas from The Secret Ingredient Cookbook

My publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and my editor, Justin Schwartz, assembled a dream team (more on them below!), and over the course of seven days, they cooked, styled and photographed the book. Here’s a sneak peek of what the daily schedule was like at the shoot: 

A daily breakfdown for a cookbook photo shoot

And that was only days 1 and 2! The team averaged 11 recipes a day, plus assorted ingredient shots for the opening sections of the book, as well as headshots. Fun fact: I was four months pregnant with Dean when we took these photos!

Author Kelly Senyei headshots

It was a whirlwind of deliciousness, with each person contributing their expertise to both the overall look and feel of the photographs, as well as the intricate details that really made each shot feel authentic and true to my vision.

Crab Rangoon from The Secret Ingredient Cookbook

Ready to see everyone in action? Tune in below to grab a seat on set at The Secret Ingredient Cookbook photo shoot!

 
Meet The Secret Ingredient Cookbook Team

So who are the superheroes behind the scenes making all the cookbook magic happen? I’m so glad you asked!

The food photographer, food stylists and prop stylists for The Secret Ingredient Cookbook photo shoot

I have dozens of people to thank for their incredible talents, including:

  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Publisher
  • Justin Schwartz, Editor 
  • Stacey Glick, Literary Agent
  • Robert Bredvad, Photographer
  • Kate Buckens and Tiffany Schleigh, Food Stylists
  • Maeve Sheridan, Prop Stylist
  • Libby Becker, Lead Recipe Tester
  • Brian Bond, Makeup 

… and so many more talented people who have worked on the book, from the day I started on my proposal to the moment the first copy landed on my front doorstep. And what a moment that was!

Strawberry Galette from The Secret Ingredient Cookbook

What Happens Next?

The Secret Ingredient Cookbook will be on shelves May 4, but you don’t have to wait that long to get your hands on just a taste of the recipes! When you pre-order your copy, you’ll be able to instantly download five exclusive sneak peek recipes from the book. So if you’ve enjoyed any of the recipes here on Just a Taste, I have no doubt you’ll love cooking from The Secret Ingredient Cookbook!

The Secret Ingredient Cookbook by Kelly Senyei
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Kelly Senyei holding a copy of The Secret Ingredient Cookbook

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