Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski on food, fame and growing up in Canada

Queer Eye's food and drink expert, Antoni Porowski, joins Tom Power in the q studio to dish on the important role food has played in his life.
Antoni Porowski with host Tom Power in the q studio in Toronto. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

Originally published on Oct. 4, 2019

Antoni Porowski was working at a gallery when he received the phone call telling him that he was about to become one of the hosts of Queer Eye. In that instant, his entire life changed.

"I didn't think that I wanted the gig because it wasn't anything that I had really thought about before," Porowski told q's Tom Power. "But what I realized [during the audition process] is that the pool started getting smaller and people started getting cut... suddenly it was like, oh, I really want this."

WATCH | Antoni Porowski's full interview with Tom Power:

The massively popular reality TV makeover show is a reboot of an older show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and its goal is to help people become their best selves. The show's five hosts, known collectively as the Fab Five, help people with everything from self-esteem, fashion, hair, their houses and their kitchen skills.

Antoni Porowski's new cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen, is out now. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Porowski is the food and drink expert, and it turns out that food has always played an important role in his life, even from an early age when he was growing up in Canada.

"I was just born with it," said Porowski of his love of food. "Food is a very emotional thing for me. I do come from a pretty dysfunctional family and we weren't very good at communicating, but when we would have meals together that was the time when we would get along."

Originally from Montreal, Porowski moved to West Virginia with his parents when he was 12 years old.

"When I was in West Virginia, my father worked a lot and my mother travelled. She was going back and forth, taking care of my sisters in Montreal, being with me in West Virginia. I had a lot of time to fend for myself, so I would throw ragers, but before said rager, I would have a dinner party, [I was] somewhere between 12 and 14, and I would cook dinner for my friends."

Now, Porowski is sharing his love of food with everyone in his newly-released first cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen.

"Every single recipe that's in there, I have story about the person I was with when I experienced it for the first time. I'm an emotional eater in every sense of the word. There's a story behind every recipe."

— Produced by ​Ben Edwards