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‘Queer Eye’ Star Antoni Porowski Reveals How Food & Community Can Heal the Soul

by CYDNEY WEINER

Antoni Porowski is no stranger to the kitchen as the official food & wine guru on Netflix’s wildly popular series, “Queer Eye.” Now, he’s sharing his culinary secrets with the masses in his first cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen, hoping to instill confidence and joy in cooks of all levels. We recently caught up with the reality TV star to talk food, failure, and family-style.

1. You started off as an actor. When did you realize your passion for cooking?

I think I’ve been passionate about both, along with other interests, since I was a little kid. I never saw it as one or the other. I only learned to cook at 17 when I moved out of my parents’ home and had to fend for myself. It was the best sort of education a bratty guy like me could get.

2. What can cooking do for the body and the soul? Can you give an example of the biggest transformation you’ve witnessed during your work on Queer Eye?

Food heals in so many ways. One of its most important qualities is that it brings people together. We aren’t meant to be alone during our time on earth. By connecting with others we learn about them, but also get to know ourselves. While I do not take credit for his undertaking in the restaurant business, Cory Waldrop from Episode 2 of Season 1 went from a man who subsisted on protein bars and limited-at-best time in the kitchen to starting his own healthy fast-casual spot.

3. What should those who are afraid of cooking know? What’s the best thing someone can do to become more confident in the kitchen?

They should recognize what exactly the fear is based on. If it’s about confidence in the kitchen, they should be prepared for lots of failures. Failing is the best result at first. It allows us to know what works and what doesn’t and we learn from it.

4. What inspired you to write this book and what do you hope readers will get from it?

I wanted to tell my story the only way I really know how: Through the dishes that have shaped me into the man I am today. I wanted to give thanks to my families, yes, plural, to the chefs, relatives and friends who’ve inspired me to create.

5. We here at The Sunday Paper are all about finding ways to better connect with our families and communities. What's your favorite mealtime tradition? How does food help foster connection?

I would say make my bolognese, chili, hunter’s stew, risotto, mac and cheese, or any dish that’s served family style. The mere act of sharing from a large platter engages people around a table to help and serve each other. It’s a sign of love and appreciation. For the times you don’t have time to cook, order a pizza and do the same thing with a group of people. Let yourself have the experience.

CYDNEY WEINER

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