Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski Defends His Cooking Skills

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

The new Queer Eye had big shoes to fill. The debut of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was a watershed moment in 2003, and when Netflix announced that it would be rebooting the series in 2018, a lot of people wondered what the new show would look like, and how it would compare with the original.

It turns out, it’s good. Like, really good. But there’s one small thing that people seem to be arguing about lately on social media, and that’s Fab Five member Antoni Porowski’s cooking skills. Is he really a good cook or is he phoning it in?

Porowski is astonishingly good-looking. If you start looking at his Instagram, there’s a good chance you’ll never stop (so, maybe don’t do this at work). But some viewers expressed umbrage that in the eight episodes of the new Queer Eye currently available on Netflix, the new “Food and Wine” guy doesn’t make very complicated food. In the first episode, Porowski teaches a guy to make guacamole. In another one, he teaches a man to make fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. Pretty basic stuff.

That, combined with the fact that Porowski doesn’t have a culinary degree and has never cooked at a restaurant, led some people to question his qualifications as the new “food guy.”

Junkee even conducted an absolutely riveting investigation called “Does the Incredibly Hot Food Guy from ‘Queer Eye’ Even Know How to Cook?” that raised the question of if Porowski was an actor playing a food expert, and if that mattered when his nice face and simple dishes really are helping the people on the show.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Porowski defended his culinary skills and pointed out out that he’s never actually called himself a chef, and he says he actually cooks a lot of things for the guys on the show that never make it into the episode, because there are only so many minutes in an hour.

“I’m very honest about my food background,” Porowski said. “I’ve never tried to pretend like I was a chef. I think that’s disrespectful to people who have gone to [the Culinary Institute of America] and different culinary institutes throughout the world.”

Porowski is a self-taught gourmet and avid home cook, and his Instagram is full of beautiful photos of home-cooked food. He’s worked in restaurants and as a sommelier and personal chef. He’s also good friends with Ted Allen, Chopped host and the food expert from the original Queer Eye. He’s worked as a cook for Allen, and it was Ted Allen who suggested Porowski for the job as the food expert of the new Fab Five.

As Porowski points out, Queer Eye isn’t a cooking show. He’s not going to be rescuing a suburban dad from under a pile of frozen food boxes and sippy cups and teaching him to make a pie that looks like David Bowie’s face. But he can teach someone to make a better salad, improve a favorite burrito, have a dinner party, or how to make a good meal for his family.

“I want people to know that it’s not about me coming in and teaching Cory how to master molecular gastronomy in a span of four days because I don’t think anybody would be capable of doing that,” he said. “It’s about me showing up and figuring out how he can better serve his family, which he clearly wanted to do, and I think we achieved that”

In one episode he showed a man how to make a salad that was just avocado and grapefruit. It sounds simple, but just look at that salad! Sure, it’s just avocado and grapefruit, but it’s gorgeous, flavorful, and healthful. Plus, he taught a guy who would never consider combining avocado and grapefruit how to suprême a citrus fruit.