Queer Eye sensation and passionate cook Antoni Porowski is taking the world by storm. With a disarmingly fresh approach to food, Antoni inspires both newbies and knowledgeable cooks to get back into the kitchen.
Antoni’s gorgeous debut cookbook brings together his trademark inclusive and accessible attitude to food with one hundred of his all-time favourite recipes. With chapters including Weeknight Healthyish Meals, Apps and Snacks and Bakes, the book celebrates Antoni’s love for fresh, casual and healthy cooking and the occasional indulgent feast.
Antoni gets dinner on the table fast with Chicken Milanese with Baby Tomato Salad, makes visual stunners such as Roasted Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto, playfully reboots Hi-Lo Poutine from his French-Canadian heritage and dazzles with Salty Lemon Squares for dessert.
As the food and wine expert of the ‘Fab Five’ style gurus on Netflix smash hit Queer Eye, Antoni burst onto our screens in 2018. A self-taught chef, Antoni’s degree in psychology helped him hone his underlying philosophy that food should tell a story because the heart and stomach are interconnected. On release, the show had a 100% rating on review website Rotten Tomatoes. In 2018, the show won three Emmy Awards and was nominated for four People’s Choice Awards.
Antoni in the Kitchen is a cookbook for newbies and amateur cooks — for people who want to dabble in the complex recipes, but only a little.
Whilst Antoni has worked in restaurants and as a private chef, Antoni is not a qualified or classically trained chef. The casting director of Queer Eye plucked him out of a gallery where he was working as a curator.
I do find it hilarious that Antoni has a cookbook, and I sense it must be a result of the responses he’s received from his appearances on Queer Eye. His cooking on the show is often minimal, easy things that sometimes aren’t really ‘cooking’. Sure, how can you possibly convey the complexities of cooking in such a short time frame? And to people who probably don’t know how to boil an egg? But Bobby redesigns entire houses…so…
Also, how much of this book is from Antoni himself? He gives a pretty strong acknowledgement to co-author Mindy Fox in the book. I find that odd for a cookbook. Did he show her recipes or meals and she transcribed how to make them?
“Was I enough of a food guy? Many of the contenders I’d been up against for the role of Queer Eye ‘food and wine expert’ had longtime careers as chefs, food-industry people and food personalities…I saw myself as an aspiring actor, my work in the food business as a means to an end.”
The recipes are relatively simple to make, and are split into 7 simple categories that any cook would be interested in using — Apps and Snacks, Green, Veg and Other Sides, Soups and Stews, Pasta and Rice, Weekend Healthyish, Animal and Bakes. Would be great to have some sort of cocktail/drinks menu, considering he also does touch on wine in the show.
The photos in the book are one of the highlights — not just the exquisite food photos but the high-quality, almost ‘lifestyle’ images of Antoni that fans can fawn over. Photos that make him appear like a regular person, but are incredibly glamorous photos of him out and about in New York City.
Because the recipes in this cookbook reflect Antoni’s food journey, elements of Antoni’s Polish heritage can be spotted as you make your way through the recipes. Scattered intermittently throughout the book are also little anecdotal memories or stories that Antoni reflects on, drawing a connection between his food and his childhood.
Some of the recipes he recalls from his travels or his high school years, and these little stories allow the reader to feel more connected to Antoni. Additionally, helpful tips and tricks are published in the book: his Top Ten Culinary Mantras, adding Pomegranate molasses to sweet and savoury dishes, and when peeling fresh ginger, use the tip of a small spoon to scrape away the skin.
“My middle sister, Aleksandra, first made a puree like this for me when I was a picky kid who refused to eat his veg. Roasting the squash caramelises it, and lime juice and peppery dried chilli perks things up.”
This book is not ideal for seasoned chefs who want complex recipes, with ingredients that spill over three pages. These recipes are easy, simple, quick, but also tasty. They’ll appeal to the kinds of people who are picked for Queer Eye — struggling in the kitchen. People who are beginner cooks and who want to improve their cooking skills will also find much to learn in this book.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Antoni in the Kitchen
Pan Macmillan Publishers