Raw portraits

Antonella Tignanelli


Ever since she was a child, Antonella Tignanelli has been fascinated by food and how people gather around a table. Now, together with a group of artist friends, she creates food concepts and installations at Food Rituals, a series of celebrations to connect with our cultural heritage through the transmission of ancient rituals and beliefs.

Town - Barcelona

Skin type - Sensitive

Favorite plant - Aloe Vera

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? When did you get interested in food?
Food has been an essential part of my life from a very early age. Everyone in my family cooks well, surprisingly, and the things that happened around the table and gatherings were always really important in my family. My grandmother, especially, passed on her skills to me. Her cooking and hosting skills were really enjoyed by everyone. My grandparents would host parties at their home a couple of times a month, and they took so much pleasure in that –I think it’s one of the things that kept them together forever. She was very insistent on the fact that I needed to watch her while she was cooking those enormous feasts. So, I kind of absorbed all of her recipes, her secret touches, her relationship to food and gatherings as the time went by. When it was finally time for me to start cooking, all of her inheritance came straight into my hands.

2. You think of yourself as a chef, but your practice involves much more than cooking. Could you tell us about it?
I just don’t like complex or contemporary titles that much, that’s why I try to keep it simple when it comes to naming what I do. It’s true that I’m a chef, and I work with restaurants around Barcelona, taking care of the overall creative direction, menu, interior design and communication. But nowadays I do mainly crazy events at my project Food Rituals, with my partner Sandie Hamon and a huge group of artist friends. My work is focused a lot on research, about ancient festivities, religions, deities, ritual practices, food consumption and production throughout history and in different regions of the world. Then implementing ideas, with a team, directing creatives in their disciplines to achieve a result and a lot of art direction and set design. 

3. Why are rituals so important to your practice?
I think rituals are important to any practice, they are important to people and societies. Rituals are the glue that keep people together, groups coexisting. Rituals give humans a sense of permanence in time. Traditions and the idea that they can remain intact in time, despite everything else around us changing, is a bit of a saver for the human psyche. What else is still existing nowadays that we share with our ancestors but rituals and traditions? Repetitions ease the mind, even if we got used to celebrating other values in recent times.

4. What is the relationship between food and spirituality?
From a historical point of view, food and religion were always really intertwined. Let’s say we are made of matter and spirit, well food represents matter. In ancient rituals, the body is either numbed by food consumption so we can access our spiritual realm, or deprived of food for the same purpose. Food or the lack of food gives us awareness of the fact that we have a body, and it could give us a clue on how to transcend it.

We are all one with the nature and it is there for us to discover it and it’s huge therapeutic potential.

5. What routines help you keep grounded?
Cooking, practicing yoga and spending time with my son are the things I do that I find very healing and keep me grounded.

6. You’re passionate about plants and nature. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from them?
You can heal almost anything health-related with nature. Especially if you develop a conscious relationship with what you grow, eat or consume. As much as we learn from nature, nature can learn from ourselves. The continuous flow of information between humans and nature’s products is yet to be mastered and used in a way that can really heal us from anything. So it all comes down to the notion that we are all one, we are one with the ecosystem and it is there for us to discover its huge therapeutic potential.

7. What do you want to learn more about?

8. Are there some skincare rituals that you like to enjoy?
Not many up until now! For working with edible ingredients, I believe that the skin is something you take care of from the inside out. I tend to change my eating habits when I see that my skin is in a bad place, rather than changing my skincare routine. I try to eat what I call temple food (brown rice, steamed seasonal vegetables, soup and apple or pear compote).

I love the Regenerate Night Serum. My skin feels more whole, with less imperfections and super soft.

9. Which are the essentials in your skin care routine?
I love Evening Primrose Oil, Rose Water and chamomile tea.

10. What are your favourite ways to help your skin recover when it’s feeling stressed?
Sleep a lot, drink more water, and sometimes I make chamomile tea and let it cool and then apply it to my face. It gives you a sleepy feeling in the face, and it’s very relaxing.

11. How does your skin feel after using ROWSE for some weeks?
It feels really good! I’m not a big fan of complex creams and stuff that I can't understand what they’re made of. With these products I feel everything is very recognizable and pure, so it makes me feel comfortable to use it.

12. Which product has impressed you the most?
For now, the Night Serum. The smell is amazing (as is in every other ROWSE’s product, though) and I really can feel its regenerative powers. The skin feels more whole the morning after using it, with less imperfections and super soft.

13. And a favourite plant or flower? Why is it important to you?
So, so many favourite plants and flowers. I think one of my favourites is Aloe Vera, because of its many healing properties, it is such a benevolent plant. The algae and mycelium world also really interest me, so vast and undiscovered. My favourite scent is Neroli, and I love olives, the base of my diet, with so many literary appearances and mythological relevance.

Antonella's ROWSE routine essentials

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