What You Didn't Know About Antoni Porowski

Whether you know him as the guy who set off a media firestorm for adding yogurt to guacamole or the man on your Instagram feed with a striking smile, chances are you've heard of Antoni Porowski. In less than five years, the trilingual Canadian-born actor, model, and foodie has been taking over the world by storm as the food and wine expert on Netflix's iconic makeover show "Queer Eye." The result has been him garnering a 4.4 million person following on social media, writing a bestselling cookbook, opening a casual dining restaurant in New York City, and making countless appearances across the entertainment world (via Instagram).

Given that he's one of the most prominent figures in reality television, you might get the sense that Antoni Porowski's life is on full display all the time. But there are still some things that remain a mystery about the cookbook author and avocado enthusiast.

Antoni Porowski experienced bullying during his youth

It's hard enough to change schools during the middle of junior high. But it's even harder when you have to move to an entirely different country, which was what happened to Antoni Porowski when he and his family relocated from his hometown of Montreal, Canada to Glade Springs, West Virginia in the 1990s (via Washington Times).

In addition to the move, seventh grade Porowski had to deal with another obstacle: xenophobia. During an interview with Q on CBC, he recalled how being a child of Polish-Canadian immigrants made him a target for bullying. He was made fun of for everything from his name to his food choices and the fact that he could speak multiple languages. And this xenophobia wasn't just coming from other kids. The food and wine expert noted a teacher once told him they didn't understand why he spoke languages that weren't English.

It was because of this bullying that he struggled to identify with his Polish heritage, and at times, even felt embarrassed of it.  "...I moved to West Virginia, and suddenly it wasn't cool to have an immigrant name or bring cabbage rolls for lunch," he remarked to Q on CBC. "I was the kid with the smelly, farty cabbage lunch so I stepped away from [Polish food] for a while."

Though the experience impacted how Porowski felt about himself for years, he's since learned to embrace his heritage, and even included several Polish recipes in his cookbook (via Glamour UK).

Porowski learned how to cook to impress his friends

As revealed in a GQ profile, Antoni Porowski's path to a food-centric career wasn't exactly conventional. Unlike many of his foodie peers, he's a totally self-taught cook. (For this reason, he eschews any use of the term "chef.") But just because he doesn't have a culinary degree, it doesn't mean he doesn't know what he's doing. In 2019, he delighted Kat Kinsman of the Communal Table Podcast with stories about his cooking journey; including the fact that his parents allowed him to cook as young as age seven. "I learned how to render fat off of meat [by] cooking kielbasa in a pan, and getting them crispy ... I was seven," he shared. He later told Q on CBC that as a teenager, he got in some more practice in the kitchen by throwing dinner parties for his friends. 

But where Porowski really got the motivation to up his kitchen game was during university, after he made a meal for a friend that didn't turn out so great. "It was probably the worst eggplant parmigiana either of us ever had," he admitted. "... But I wanted to learn how to make it properly and I've been making nice, crispy, eggplant parmigiana ever since."

To this day, the Montreal-born star enjoys cooking for friends. The only thing that's changed is the company he keeps is a bit more well-known. But no matter who he's hosting, Porowski is sure to pour his heart into it. As he put it to The Social CTV, "Food is the ultimate connector. It's how I say thank you, it's how I say I'm sorry."

Antoni Porowski doesn't follow a specific diet

As the resident foodie on "Queer Eye," it's not surprising that Antoni Porowski loves to eat. But like many other people in the spotlight, he too struggles with self-consciousness. "...When you're on camera all the time, you see yourself at an angle and you can drive yourself crazy sometimes," he told Glamour UK.

Nevertheless, despite societal pressures, Porowski's a firm believer that one shouldn't deprive themselves. "I do love to eat and it's not something I stop because I do enjoy it so much that I'm not going to starve myself," he said. But to keep himself from feeling too sluggish, he practices an active lifestyle. Based on his Instagram posts, it seems that hiking with his dog Neon may be one of his favorite ways to get some exercise in.

As for what he eats? Thanks to his Polish upbringing, Porowski is a huge meat eater. But despite his love for kielbasa and other sausages, he doesn't eat meat as often as you'd think. During a Harper's Bazaar interview that covered what the star eats in a day, he revealed that he mostly sticks to plant-based meals during the week, but treats himself to whatever he wants during the weekend. Additionally, he shared that since appearing on the show, he's cut down on eating dairy, even though he admittedly loves cheese.

Antoni Porowski's favorite comfort foods are American classics

Though Antoni Porowski is a proud Montreal native who appreciates the decadence of a Canadian classic like poutine, his comfort meals are more like the sort of food you'd find in an American diner. Among that list of foods that put a smile on his face (and probably yours, too)? Mac and cheese. When asked by Food and Wine magazine about his favorite comfort meal, the home cook gushed about his love for the American staple, and how he'd happily eat it when it's baked, wet, or even cold out of the fridge (via YouTube).

But that's not the only diner food staple he's always hungry for. In a different interview, Porowski mentioned he could always go for a good meatloaf, specifically one served with "nice ketchupy glaze," according to Harper's Bazaar. As to why he has such a soft spot for American staples, Porowski said it probably comes from the fact that unlike many of his American friends, his Polish-Canadian childhood didn't see too many American classic dinners.

"[My family] didn't eat a lot of ground meat growing up. It [would be] whole cuts, like, a whole steak, a fish, a pork chop, a pork tenderloin ... There's something really satisfying and delicate about ground beef."

Antoni Porowski has been passionate about food since he was a child

Though his career took some twists and turns through the entertainment industry to finally get where it is today, a look at Antoni Porowski's childhood reveals his job as the food and wine expert on "Queer Eye" may have been his true calling all along. During an interview with The Communal Table Podcast, Porowski shared that talking passionately about what he eats has always come naturally to him.

"[As a child], I had these weird, strange specific opinions [on food] and I didn't even know where they were coming from," he explained. "My cousin told me ... 'You would be sitting there with your lunchbox, bragging about this beautiful food your mother made and you would talk about how they prepare the string beans, but you would then say she should have roasted them instead of boiling them.'" With that kind of balanced critique coming from a kid, it totally makes sense he's the guy people trust to give them food advice.

As to where this passion came from? Per Glamour UK, Antoni Porowski says we have his parents to thank for that. As his parents traveled, they'd bring back recipes as souvenirs to cook at home. Porowski recalls family meals as a time to break bread and share a laugh.

Antoni Porowski wanted to be an actor

One of the things that sets Antoni Porowski apart from his castmates is his prior experience in front of the camera. Before "Queer Eye," he was a working actor, appearing in short films and a couple features produced in Canada and the U.S. Fun fact, he even auditioned to be in Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" video, but didn't get it, per ET Online. Of course, as fans know, the acting thing didn't really pan out for him. But that's perfectly fine, because we're thankful for the career he has now. Plus, he did eventually did make it into a Taylor Swift music video for "You Need to Calm Down" (via YouTube).

And just because his passions have shifted, doesn't mean acting is completely out of his life. Back in 2018, he teamed up with Netflix and starred in a two-minute short called "Antoni Psycho," a spoof on his doppelganger Christian Bale's iconic film, "American Psycho." (via YouTube).

Antoni Porowski did not expect to land on Queer Eye

So how does one go from wanting to play other characters on camera to playing themselves? According to Antoni Porowski, it all happened by accident. He went into detail about his unusual path with podcast host Joseph Shepherd (via YouTube), where he talked about how he jumped from working as a full-time actor and server to landing a job as an assistant to "Queer Eye" alumnus Ted Allen. This opened him up to a world of culinary experts. "As I was working with Ted, I [helped] with all the assistant things — [such as prepping] food in the kitchen and helping with dinner parties. [Ted] would host 'Chopped' barbecues for all the chefs on the show, so I would cook alongside those [professional] chefs and I learned so much."

However, despite this exposure to the food entertainment business, by the time the "Queer Eye" reboot came around, Porowski actually had no intentions of joining the show. At the time, he had settled into a role working at an art gallery and was fully convinced that he lacked the cooking chops to serve as the show's food and wine expert. In fact, he reportedly only auditioned after a friend suggested that it would be good for him (via YouTube). Thanks to the help of Ted Allen, who assured him viewers would connect with his passion for food more than his cooking abilities, Porowski found the confidence to go for the role, and he's been winning over fans ever since.

Antoni Porowski didn't get along with his Queer Eye co-star Karamo Brown at first

Antoni Porowski may be known as the introverted one of the "Queer Eye" bunch, but he has managed to form some pretty solid friendships with his castmates. For instance, his bond with Jonathan Van Ness is regarded as so pure and integral to the show that many "Queer Eye" fans have even gone as far as to "ship" them. However while you may get the impression that Porowski gets along with pretty much everyone, that wasn't always the case. According to E! News, during the filming of the show's first season, the food and wine expert didn't get off to the best start with the show's culture expert, Karamo Brown. 

While Porowski himself hasn't spoken much about their past issues, Brown didn't shy away from being candid about their former beef during an interview with the publication in 2020. The culture expert reportedly revealed to the publication that although he and Porowski managed to keep things professional for the sake of the "Queer Eye" cast and heroes, their off-camera relationship eventually got to the point where they couldn't even talk to each other.

When explaining the conflict, Brown said it had less to do with their personalities and more to do with some behind-the-scenes drama involving a third party (who to date remains unknown). However, the good news is he also noted the two eventually patched things up with a heart-to-heart conversation, and have been good friends ever since.

Antoni Porowski doesn't do labels

Given Antoni Porowski's status as a celebrity on a show like "Queer Eye," it's not surprising that his relationships are a huge topic of interest on social media. He's well aware of this fact, too, as he's known to drop the occasional shirtless photo on his Instagram, which he jokingly views as a kind of "performance art" (via Stylecaster). "I love playing around with people's perceptions of me and giving them what they want and then doing something different," he said. For Porowski, it's all fun.

But when it comes to giving himself a label? Not really his thing. In fact, during an interview with GQ, Porowski revealed that he never technically came out as "gay." Instead, when he felt the need to tell his family about his private life, he simply told them who he was dating. In the same interview, he added that he doesn't believe labeling himself with the term "gay" would be appropriate, because it would invalidate the fact that he has dated and loved women, too (via GQ UK). He then went on to explain that he feels more at home with terms like "fluid," and ultimately would prefer to keep that part of his life private. "My sexuality's something that's intimate ... I'm a little old school in that sense," he remarked. 

Antoni Porowski is a highly sentimental person

Stereotypes about people with Pisces zodiac signs aside, it's no secret that Antoni Porowski is known as the sensitive one on "Queer Eye." Karamo Brown even called him the most teary-eyed, noting that he cried more than anyone else while on the show (via Men's Health). As Brown pointed out, Porowski's ability to be in touch with his emotional side is one of the reasons we all can't help but love him so much. 

So it should come as no surprise that the food and wine expert admits that he has a tendency to be more sentimental than others. "I'm a very nostalgic person," he told radio host Tom Power, during an interview with Q on CBC. "When I'm sad, I hold onto that sadness for a long time." 

Surprisingly, this has benefited him professionally — not just as someone who's asked to regularly connect with new people on an emotional level through "Queer Eye," but through his other endeavors, too. The recipes in his cookbook, for instance, all come from a specific story in his personal life. This was clearly evidenced in that same Q on CBC interview: The "Antoni in the Kitchen" author waxed nostalgia about a carrot, pesto, and greek yogurt dish in the book he made while in a 7-year relationship with a former partner.

Porowski considers himself a work in progress

Antoni Porowski may be a star, but he's also a human being with insecurities and feelings like everyone else. Since joining the "Queer Eye" cast, Porowski's admitted he's struggled with imposter syndrome. "I felt like I tricked everyone in getting onto the show. ... I felt like I wasn't enough of a chef, I wasn't good enough. So, I felt the need to prove myself and I'd overcompensate with certain things," he told Glamour.

Though it took some self-reflection, Porowski has since learned that despite his insecurities, he's learning to accept who he is. Speaking to Elle in 2018, he said, "What I've learned is that living in public life... It's impossible to have everybody like you. No matter what you do." Thanks to the support of his castmates, Porowski says he's learned to be a lot more comfortable with himself. 

Porowski's gone on to pursue other dreams, such as opening the fast-casual restaurant Village Den in New York City in late 2018, per the New York Times, and will release his second cookbook, "Antoni: Let's Do Dinner" in September 2021 (via HMH). And, of course, he continues to work with the Fab Five. We'll see more of Porowski on the upcoming Season 6 of "Queer Eye" set to air sometime in late 2021 or early 2022.