To say Antoni Porowski has a busy schedule is an understatement. The food and wine expert from Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning series “Queer Eye” is juggling a long-delayed book tour (his second cookbook, “Antoni: Let’s Do Dinner,” was released in September 2021); he appeared in Focus Features’ “Spoiler Alert” alongside Jim Parsons; he’s host and executive producer of “Easy-Bake Battle,” also on Netflix; and he’s developing a feature film for the streaming service.
So when Porowski, who’s also a restaurateur, cookbook author and outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights — among other roles — has a free Sunday to spend relaxing in his Manhattan apartment, the day is all about kicking back. That means hanging with his fiancé, Kevin Harrington, and taking a break from cooking.
“That’s the day when I order every single thing from Caviar,” Porowski said, speaking from his car somewhere outside of Orlando, Florida, while on his book tour. “I give myself a break and stay on the couch. I don’t like to get up.”
When Porowski orders in, he goes hard — we’re talking delivery all day. In the morning, things get started with breakfast from Tompkins Square Bagels, then the couple often moves on to Sticky’s Finger Joint — a favorite is the restaurant’s chicken tenders (with the buffalo balsamic maple glaze and honey mustard, please). Or it might be a day for a ShackBurger from Shake Shack.
“If I’m feeling it, we’ll also order the boba tea from Grace Street,” Porowski adds. “I love their lavender honey boba, as it has just the right sweetness,” he says.
And it doesn’t stop there. “At the end of the day, it’s Joe and Pat’s if we’re feeling pizza, a burger or salmon on sticky rice from The Smith, and Petee’s Pies or Milk Bar for dessert.”
Those are just a few of Porowski’s local New York favorites — you can order from his collections in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. He has also ID’d his favorite restaurants (all available for delivery on DoorDash) in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Austin, Atlanta, and Kansas City. “Queer Eye” fans will recognize those last four cities as show locations.
Though Porowski is intent on relinquishing cooking duties on these precious days off, he doesn’t forgo the attention to presentation that he frequently demonstrates to the makeover subjects on "Queer Eye." “Putting the effort in to eat off a plate makes me feel better than eating directly from a container,” he says.
Still, the overall vibe is informal: “We always sit at the coffee table and eat in front of the TV. I’ve used my dining room twice,” he says.
If you watch an episode of "Queer Eye," you’ll quickly get a sense of Porowski’s joyful approach to life. Asked if he has a happiness mantra, he pauses. “I haven’t thought about this,” he says — but then proceeds to describe one: “This relates to one of the things my mentor told me: ‘I am enough. I have enough,’” he says. “So even when things are good, I make sure I don’t get wrapped up in things that don’t necessarily have real value, if that makes sense.”
For example, he’s the first to acknowledge that he gets excited by things and sometimes needs to temper that enthusiasm.
“If I follow my mantra, this means that having one dog is enough,” he says. “I don’t need five. There’s nothing wrong with having five dogs but, for my life, that would be selfish.” Proof that he takes his own advice: Porowski, who launched a pet food brand with co-star Jonathan Van Ness in September, does indeed have one dog: a rescued pit bull-beagle mix named Neon.
Even the hectic tour to promote his cookbook delights him. “Meeting everyone brings me so much joy,” he says. “I love cooking for people, getting questions from the audience, seeing the impact "Queer Eye" has and how people continue to relate to it, seven seasons in. I love getting to know people and talking about food, dogs and life in general. Anytime I can give advice from my own experience, I will.”
Delighting in Dinner
True to his cookbook’s title, Porowski loves to “do dinner.” His home-cooking approach is a blend of planning ahead and staying flexible.
“In the beginning of the week, I’ll make my warm kale and rotisserie chicken salad and make sure I have enough for leftovers,” he says. “I’ll dress it with a warm vinaigrette, add rotisserie chicken, some chili flakes, hazelnuts and anchovies — it’s cheap and cheerful, takes just 10 to 15 minutes to make, and it’s a filling meal to have the next day.”
Knowing he has delicious, nutritious food on hand, Porowski lets how he’s feeling that day — or how he’s been eating earlier in the week — inform his dinner decisions. “I try to listen to my body and see what I’m in the mood for,” he says. “Or, if it’s a cold, rainy day, I’ll usually make something soupy or stewy. If I ate a lot of pasta during the weekend, I’ll want to start the week eating fresh and getting my fruits and veggies in,” he says.
The one thing he always does is make sure fiancé Kevin is well-fed. “He’s obsessed with my chili, so I left him four portions of it before I went on tour,” he says. The recipe, featuring ground turkey, bacon and dark beer, “gets nice and glazy,” Porowski says. “Especially when I add dark chocolate, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar at the end.”
Of course, when you’re a nationally known food expert, people will be clamoring to come over for dinner. Porowski is happy to oblige — and he encourages fans to do the same. The key, he says, is to do whatever it takes to make entertaining fun.
“You’re supposed to enjoy yourself as much as your guests,” he says. “So if you want to order from your favorite place, do that. Or do the thing you’ve made 100 times — you’re less likely to make a mistake.”
He’s also partial to potlucks, because each dish offers so many things to talk about. “I love the idea of people coming together, bringing food and sharing how they made it,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to teach where you come from, the style of food you eat, where you source your ingredients and the technique you used to make it. It’s an incredible conversation starter.”
“As a host you want to do whatever you can to make your guests feel welcome. That’s what matters most.”