How to Cook (and Eat!) Like Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski
Porowski shared his approach to healthy, balanced eating—as well as some insight into his first cookbook.
Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images
You may know Antoni Porowski as Queer Eye's food and wine expert, but his approach to cooking and healthy eating is approachable for any kind of home cook. He doesn't subscribe to any one diet or way of eating, and believes all meals should be satisfying-and are best shared with loved ones.
"I've been obsessed with food since I was a kid," Porowski said. "But I grew up in a matriarchal household where the cooking was left to my mother and sisters, so I would have to just sit at the counter and watch."
Porowski finally started getting his chance to develop his skills in the kitchen in his teen years when his parents would go out of town. He began throwing dinner parties with pretty impressive menus for a teenage cook-butterflied raspberry roast chicken, anyone?-and fell in love with gathering people around a table. Now, Porowski makes a living out of helping other people fall in love with cooking through Queer Eye, teaching the show's "heroes" to make delicious meals either as a method of self-care or out of service to the people that mean the most to them.
"Self-care involves a healthy mix of satisfying, 'feel-good' food that doesn't leave you feeling guilty," Porowski says. "Practicing self-care is not only in the act of doing it but also the aftermath. It's about making choices that will make you feel good both now and later."
Porowski says he has two eating personas-Weekday Antoni and Weekend Antoni (same, Antoni, same). He prioritizes mindful, plant-forward eating on weekdays and allows some wiggle room for more indulgent foods like creamy pasta dishes and red meat at the end of the week. But whether it's a Wednesday or a Saturday, Porowski strongly believes in flavorful, satisfying food.
"Though I follow different ideals on weekdays, I still follow the same rules when cooking," Porowski says. "I love to balance sweet and salty flavors, season and salt fresh vegetables and bring vibrancy to meals with some acid." One of Porowski's go-to snacks is Triscuit's new line of Wheatberry Clusters. He says he loves that he can read the ingredients list and know exactly what he's eating and that they make a great foundation for dinner party appetizers and add a nice crunch to a smoothie bowl or salad.
Related: 10 Secrets to Cooking Healthier
While Porowski doesn't buy much in bulk, he said he always keeps a big bag of lemons on hand for giving acidity to salads, soups and other healthy dishes. He is also very methodical when he shops for groceries, starting with the produce section to prioritize fiber, greens and color first. From there, he stocks up on frozen produce-pineapple is a favorite for smoothies-followed by pantry staples and then a few more decadent items, like chocolate. This helps Porowski navigate the way he cooks throughout the week to emphasize plants while still enjoying an indulgence here and there-sans guilt.
Porowski's latest project is his first cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen, which is due out in September. He says developing this cookbook has become a lot more personal than expected.
Of course there will be some stellar recipes from the award-winning Netflix series, but Porowski says his cookbook is both varied and semi-autobiographical. There will be plenty of meals from his Polish heritage-we can't wait to try his family heirloom desserts-along with some of his favorite meals from his broke college days, healthy-ish weeknight dinners and of course, some mouthwatering dishes from Weekend Antoni.
Porowski's latest cookbook-and eating style as a whole-is a reflection of how he allows the needs of each "hero" to drive the lessons he teaches on Queer Eye.
"I never come into an episode with a plan," Porowski said. "You see us on screen meeting them for the first time, and that's when I find out what they need. Sometimes they need to learn more mindful, healthy eating and sometimes they just need to reconnect with their family and have some fun by making their mom's mac and cheese recipe. Cooking is all about making something out of love-for yourself, or for others."
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