Antoni Porowski wants to take you to dinner. Well, not you (or me) specifically, but those craving a cookbook.
The Queer Eye host’s second book, Let’s Do Dinner, is on shelves now. Unlike his previous culinary memoir, Antoni in the Kitchen, this book goes light on the personal anecdotes and heavy on the practicality of creating a satisfying, simple dinner – his favourite meal of the day.
“With my first book, it was a culinary memoir,” Porowski says, Zooming from his apartment in New York. “It was a mix – it was kind of all over the place – of recipes that shaped me, my Polish heritage, recipes that didn’t make it on Queer Eye, stuff that I ate as a student.”
He has much less time to make his own meals now, but cooking remains his favourite activity. “Those moments are even more sacred, and I have more appreciation for the luxury of being in my own kitchen,” he says.
Cover of Let’s Do Dinner by Antoni Porowski.
The book details a list of ingredients Porowski keeps stocked in his kitchen, including certain beans, vinegars and spices, as well as nuts, lemons, eggs and yogurt (yes, of course, peas also made the list). This way, aside from needing to hit the grocery store for a protein or other perishables, he is otherwise ready to prep.
Nothing drives him crazier than needing to go to the grocery store for ingredients he won’t use again. “It’s not a coincidence that a lot of the elements and the ingredients in the book get repeated a lot, but in very different ways,” he says.
Chapters focus on salads, eggs, sandwiches, chicken and other meat dishes – and of course, snacks and sides. Plus, he shares his 10 fast favourites, like creamy soft-scrambled eggs with shrimp and scallions, and lemon spaghetti with toasted walnuts and parsley. But don’t let the ingredients list weigh you down if you’re scrambling around your kitchen like a frantic gazelle because you can’t find an elusive herb.
“With a lot of these recipes, I highly encourage people to swap things out,” he says. “Because I think that’s sometimes when some of the best discoveries are made, and sometimes you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to put in cilantro instead of parsley into a lemon spaghetti and it might not really work really well. But you know what, you won’t do it again after that.”
Think again if you expect to find any specific dog-food recipes in the book, despite Porowski’s professed love for the animal (specifically his mutt Neon, whom he shares with beau Kevin Harrington). For what it’s worth, though, Neon is a fan of the soft scramble with poached shrimp and will devour bits of rotisserie chicken.
“I promise you she is not suffering in any way, shape or form,” Porowski reassures.
Porowski with hospice nurse Yoko Sakuma in Netflix miniseries Queer Eye: We’re in Japan! Photo: Netflix
Queer Eye fans won’t be suffering soon enough. Filming has wrapped on the sixth season of the Netflix show, which Porowski says was “unbelievable” and filled with “heartbreaking” but “uplifting stories”. As always, expect tears.
“My first really aggressive snot cry was with Mama Tammye in Season 2. I actually managed to have one that was worse,” he says. “And this was right when I met the hero. I’m not allowed to say anything, but the producers didn’t prepare me emotionally. And it was like 10 minutes of meeting this person and I was a blubbering mess.”
Porowski (left) crying with Mama Tammye (right) during Season 2 of Queer Eye. Photo: Netflix
Another thing that affected him emotionally: the birth of fellow Queer Eye host Tan France’s son.
“I am Uncle Antoni, officially or not officially,” he says. He hasn’t met the baby in person yet but there have been “a shocking amount of FaceTime videos”. It meant a lot to him to see someone in a gay relationship have a child.
Growing up, “I never thought about marriage, because it wasn’t legal at the time”, he says. “And then it became legal, and then it became real. But now seeing Tan have a baby … it was another level of relatability where it was like, ‘Wow, that’s actually something that’s possible.’”
An image from Porowski’s Instagram. Photo: @antoni / Instagram
Elsewhere, Porowski can’t help but (still) burst with love for all things Taylor Swift. He appeared in her You Need to Calm Down video in 2019 and can’t quite shake the album it came from, Lover.
“Obviously, [Swift’s subsequent album] Folklore was fantastic,” he says. “But I just feel like we didn’t get enough time to like, fully appreciate the depth of Lover and all of the songs on that album. And I still go back, listen to it, and I forget sometimes because I get so obsessed with her other two albums.
“I just feel like I wish we would have had like more time to enjoy it. But I love that she gave us so many new songs.”
Much like Swift, Porowski knows his way around a captivating, ever-evolving narrative. Just, you know, with a spatula in his hand instead of guitar.
“We never really know everything,” he says. “There’s always a new way to do something in the kitchen and then it becomes your own.”Internet Explorer Channel Network