Antoni Porowski can "talk about salt ad nauseam" and believes in the "virtues of high-end vanilla." But even with such strong opinions, Queer Eye's Antoni is the opposite of a food snob. He's a big fan of cake for breakfast and cold pizza (especially cold pepperoni). And despite us meeting during a cooking demo with OLLY for some very elevated avocado toast, Antoni couldn't be more down-to-earth.
Antoni has mastered the approach of meeting the show's contestants, lovingly dubbed "heroes," in the middle — never once shaming them for less-healthy choices or crafting unrealistically aspirational grocery lists. "Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than when I'm speaking to somebody who's a pro at something, and they speak to me in a condescending way," he explains.
His approach, he says, comes from his physician father: "I remember growing up and his patients would always say, 'He's just the best doctor because he would always listen to me and ask me thoughtful questions.'" His dad set an example of "always treating everybody with kindness and respect," and following his lead, Antoni has brought this strategy to the kitchen.
"If I act like a jerk about [cooking], and if I'm like, 'You don't know the difference between pecorino and parmigiano?', that's going to cut someone off and it's not going to make them very excited to be in the kitchen," Antoni says. Instead, he offers an alternative. "If you're like, 'This is how I cut an onion, you can cut it however way you damn well please, but this is the way that really works for me. And if it works for you, you're welcome for the little tip.'"
He encourages people to find an approach they feel good about. Plus, cooking can be a form of self-care, which Antoni agrees with "One. Hundred. Percent." "If I'm feeling really happy, and if I'm in a good mood, that's usually when I'm the most generous automatically, where I want to spend time with people and connect with other people, so that's when I'm more likely to host a dinner party," he says. But like any other human, he's not always in the best mood. Antoni continues, "If I've had a really rough day, and if I'm kind of struggling, where I want to isolate and be alone, it's usually when I have to reach out to friends or when I should, so that's when I force myself to invite people over."
So what exactly is on the menu when he isn't feeling his best? "I tend to stick to the more cheese-centric recipes ... Honestly a vat of mac and cheese can never go wrong."
Further proving his anti-snobby taste in food, another go-to dish is a homemade Hamburger Helper, since he wasn't allowed to eat it as a kid. "I use ground turkey; yes, I put in peas; and I use whatever cheese I have laying around," he enthusiastically explains, while listing off additional ingredients like sour cream, cayenne, paprika, and even cauliflower florets. Just like leftover pizza, he says, his Hamburger Helper from scratch is "really good cold too."
But at the end of the day, Antoni cares way less about what someone eats and more about the bonds formed along the way. "Even if it's over frozen or delivery pizza, I don't care," he says. "Have that connection with another person over food... I think we can't undermine the importance of that."
Considering he's used food to worm his way into the hearts of Queer Eye fans and contestants alike, he's definitely an expert on the subject — even if he is super humble about it.