Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski celebrates how food brings people together
This interview originally aired on Dec. 7, 2019.
Antoni in the Kitchen is the debut cookbook of Antoni Porowski, food and wine guru on Netflix's hit show Queer Eye.
The Montreal-raised TV personality of Polish descent collects "healthy-ish" recipes — many of which contain less than five ingredients — that can be thrown together at the last minute, but still pack a punch. These delicious dishes include Malaysian chili shrimp and salty lemon squares.
Porowski spoke with Shelagh Rogers about his love of food and how it brings people together.
"Polish food was important for me when I was growing up. The food we ate at home was always very diverse. It wasn't Polish food everyday, but there were the Polish classics that I love.
"One in particular is leniwe, which means 'lazy' in Polish. It's basically a pierogi that doesn't have stuffing inside. They're served with bread crumbs and sprinkled with sugar.
"Whenever we would have those, it would feel like we're having dessert for dinner. They are airy, much like gnocchi, but not as starchy. They're so delicious."
Public school potluck
"I have one memory from elementary school which was Le Buffet des Nations (The Buffet of Nations), which took place in the school gym. My school was located on the South Shore of Montreal and it was a diverse mix of cultures. Every year, parents would gather with their kids and bring food from their respective countries to share with other people.
I just love hearing other people's stories — and I get to use food as a medium.- Antoni Porowski
"That's how I was first introduced to all kinds of different and diverse dishes from other countries. It was just a really lovely atmosphere.
"My mother would make krokiety, which are Polish crepes stuffed with mushrooms and onions. She would add chanterelle mushrooms, shallots, fresh chives, olive oil and a creamy cognac sauce.
"I remember it so fondly. I can remember the taste of it in my mouth."
Food and mood
"What I've learned from Queer Eye is that a lot of people claim they don't care about food. But as soon as you start talking to them about their lives — their upbringings and the people in their lives who matter — you learn that there's always a story behind it.
"When somebody has that emotion to latch on to or that person that they want to show up for, it gives them a reason to cook.
"It's so important to know where we come from and to be prideful of where we come from. It helps shape us. It helps us figure out where we're heading as well in life.
"I just love hearing other people's stories — and I get to use food as a medium."
Antoni Porowski's comments have been edited for length and clarity.