Bobo Choses Series
Antonella Tignanelli is a chef and creative director living in Barcelona with her son, Luca. Cooking and Arts are the languages she speaks, caring for her child’s diet meticulously and translating ancient festivities into those languages with her special project Food Rituals, an immersive theater experience. Enjoy!
Hi Antonella! Can you introduce yourself?
Hi! I am a 32-year-old mother, chef and creative director. I live in Barcelona with my son Luca and spend my days doing many, many things around food.
What was your upbringing like? Are there any things you’re consciously trying to incorporate into your kid’s upbringing?
My parents took me everywhere with them. They were both young and fun, and I was kind of an addition to their lives, so they didn’t really stop doing many things after becoming parents: they took me to work, travel, and their friend’s with them. They were both great with me and very special, definitely not the type of parents we were used to back then. They taught me many alternative things, different ways of thinking, and beliefs. They were also very aware of nutrition and good diets: they were both macrobiotic when I was born, and my eating habits were very different from other kids. I thank them hugely for that because it shaped me a lot.
A significant thing about how my parents raised me is that they never forced me or expected me to be anything in particular. They gave me a lot of freedom and stimulated every creative pursuit I had.
I try to incorporate those same values with Luca; I want him to understand and learn things not taught at school or on mainstream TV. I also take him everywhere with me, my friends adore him, and he’s a bit like one more of us. There’s so much love surrounding him. I also care a lot about his diet since I know this is the moment that he’ll shape his likes and dislikes, immunity, and overall health.
And the most important: freedom to be whoever he needs to be, and unconditional love to do so.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
My days are rarely typical or similar to one another. I am currently working on three restaurant projects, organizing a big event with my project Food Rituals, and preparing a class for a Masters at a really cool institution. So I switch from one to the other all the time. There are always lots of people involved though, that I can say.
What excites you more about raising your baby?
Seeing him grow and becoming an amazing person day by day is really exciting. How his intelligence develops, and his abilities grow. I am excited to share with him the things that I learnt in life, and the values that I think are important. A mix of what my family taught me and stuff I had to get better at.
What do you do professionally? Can you develop what your project Food Rituals consists of?
I am a chef. I’ve been cooking professionally since I was 18 years old. I went through everything: restaurant kitchens around the world, recipe development, food design and events, consultancy… It’s been some years since I settled in Barcelona, and I’ve mainly created restaurants ever since, like Baldomero and Camping, doing the overall creative direction of those projects, recipes, etc.
Recently I started Food Rituals with my partner Sandie Hamon. It’s a project that gives me a lot of joy and makes me feel I’m on the right path. It is about investigating ancient festivities and bringing them back to the present, celebrating as they used to, transmitting the same values that these cultures used to. The result is a bit of a history class mixed with theater, a lot of fun, mystery, magic and, of course,… food.
The project started as a TV series, but after some trouble in the film industry in pandemic times, it shifted into events and celebrations, which was something I could handle a bit easier. The project is now shaping into an immersive theater experience, where lots of different disciplines such as filmmaking, performance, music, and cooking take place and join forces. And we’ll see where it takes us!
Where do you find the inspiration for creating? Any fellow artists or chefs that you want to share?
I find inspiration everywhere really, as I’ve always been a very curious person. I’ve traveled a lot my whole life and have always taken it very seriously. When my friends were in university, I was in faraway villages of Thailand, Mexico, or Greece… I could say that has been my major source of inspiration: seeing very different cultures, realities, and crafts. That and a mix of always going to every art fair, restaurant, and museum I can go to.
Of course, there are many fellow artists or chefs that I love, but I don’t think my inspiration comes mainly from my industry. For me, cooking and arts are languages that I know how to speak, but my inspiration comes from translating mystic things or cultural expressions into those languages so I can share them.
Any upcoming projects in the near future?
The “I’m a Poet” collection celebrates poetry and the poet’s sensitivity when it comes to observing life and nature. How important is poetry in your creative process? Do you find a connection between poetry and food rituals?
Poetry and Food Rituals are extremely connected, thanks to my friend Carine Valette, a crucial part of the project and a poet herself. When we have to create a new function, I mostly tell her about the beliefs, the concepts, and the teachings that we have to express on that particular occasion, and I really trust her to make her magic with it, which is guiding the people with beautifully poetic ways of expressing those messages. It adds a lot to the whole equation and the vibe would be completely different without this poetic touch in it.
This interview is part of The Bobo Choses Series, which focuses on the particular universe of different individuals and families who share and enjoy the cosmos of Bobo Choses.
A story by @fantasticmrnilsson, AD & Styling: @mafernavas, Photography: @anouk_nitsche, Production: @txell_hg, Styling assistant: @gomezgamanda, Models: @maryavocado & Luca