Antoni Porowski, the food guru from TV’s Netflix hit Queer Eye, spices up your weekday classics. Plus his ultimate dinner à deux.
Antoni In The Kitchen recipes to spice up your weekday classics
Hanger steak is relatively lean but packed with flavour. Lime juice and a heap of mint and coriander leaves make the dish salady and satisfying, and give it an Asian twist.
I’ve made this so many times for my BFF that she now calls it her own. This is a one-pot situation that’s great for parties. The chilli also freezes well, so you can make big batches ahead and have it at the ready.
This salad evolved from my dad’s favourite road-trip snack: carrot sticks with roasted almonds, lemon juice and salt. I’ve punched it up with fresh ginger, parsley and dates. I peel the carrots into thin ribbons so they crisp up and curl after a short soak in iced water.
This alluring Persian stew, called fesenjan, is a great dinner party or, really, anytime dish. Here I serve steamed long-grain rice alongside.
For quick work, you can chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic together in a food processor. The sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Decadent, flavourful and perfect for anything from kettle chips or baguette to spears of endive (or your finger), this simple dip is a great gateway drug to a food coma. Using high-quality cheeses will make it memorable for your guests (or you alone on your couch – no judgement).
This weeknight pasta can double as an impressive dish for entertaining. Be sure to brown the sausage well for nice crispy edges – it tastes so good that way.
When she was young my cousin Maïa, a passionate baker, was obsessed with lemon squares. These are a slight riff on an original recipe of hers.
Want to put romance on the menu?
It’s easy, says Antoni! He reveals the inspiration for his delicious dishes – and a recipe for a sizzling evening – to Victoria Woodhall.
Who taught you to cook?
I learned from watching the Food Network on TV as a little kid after school – there was a show called Great Chefs of the World. And from my Polish mum. She wouldn’t let anyone help her cook, but I would sit on the other end of the kitchen island and watch.
Earliest food memory?
Eating a thin slice of tart green apple with a cheese such as havarti or gruyère when I was four. It was my favourite snack.
You grew up with cheese platters – they are trending on Instagram right now…
They have been such a staple for me. I limit my dairy during the week but at the weekend a cheese platter is non-negotiable. When I was a kid, I would come back from swimming practice on a Friday night and my parents would make this beautiful spread on an old wooden cutting board with at least seven cheeses and we’d eat it in front of the TV.
You’re Canadian with Polish parentage – what dish reflects your mixed heritage?
Every Polish family has its version of the hunter’s stew. It’s a humble dish – sauerkraut, braised cabbage, any meat that you have left over, kielbasa sausage and bacon. A lot of Polish people put beer in it but I use red wine. It reminds me of cold winters growing up in Canada.
What’s the big idea behind your new book?
It’s about the food that has shaped me – the Polish dishes my parents made for me, growing up in Canada, the things I made for myself when I moved out, as well as some recipes from Queer Eye that didn’t make the final edit.
What dish should everyone know by heart?
How to prepare eggs at least three ways. They are super-good for you – high in protein. Jamie Oliver was the first person I saw really fanboy over eggs, and if you have someone over for a date, what’s sexier than saying, ‘Hey, how do you like your eggs?’
So your most romantic meal is…
A French omelette – you can have it for dinner with a light salad. If you’re going to be getting it on, you don’t want to be in a carb coma. It doesn’t repeat on your either.
Your motto is ‘frozen peas for president’. Would they do a better job than Donald Trump?
Um, let’s just say that frozen peas do a much better job of bringing people together and bringing joy to my life.
I’m Canadian, we’re always going to be a little polite.
What do you cook for your fellow Queer Eye Fab Five presenters?
My smoky chicken fajitas, which are great after 12 hours of filming when we need something quick, high-protein and flavourful. Everyone should have a cast-iron skillet to cook chicken on. You get such a beautiful char.
Who’s the fussiest eater of the Fab Five?
Jonathan [Van Ness] has very strong opinions on coriander. It has to be in a separate bowl at the other end of the kitchen or he starts getting the sweats. Bobby [Berk] is up for trying anything. Tan [France] talks about how he makes really wonderful Indian and Pakistani food that his mother taught him but he has yet to cook for me, so this is me publicly shaming him. Karamo [Brown] drinks a lot of Coca-Cola, loves jelly beans, can eat pizza every single day of the week and still looks good. He knows when to stop, though, whereas I do not have that talent.
Kitchen gadgets everyone should own?
In Queer Eye, every home I go into I see dull knives and it drives me crazy. They are more dangerous to use than a sharp knife because they can slip on whatever you are cutting. Everyone should have a microplane for lemon zest (much better than a box grater) which I use on everything. It wakes up any dish.
Parmesan rind. If you throw it into a soup or sauce you are making and let it sit for 30 minutes, it adds a wonderful savoury layer and makes it taste like it’s been cooking for ever.
Your biggest splurge?
My Puiforcat cutlery. I’m still shocked at how much I paid for it but I love looking at it. It’s beautiful, heavy and substantial with an art deco design.
Dream dinner guests?
Nigella Lawson – one of my first cookbooks was Feast. I love her style of writing and the sensuality with which she approaches food. Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation writer with French-Canadian roots. I’d make him my Hi-lo Poutine – fries topped with melted cheese, curds and gravy – a classic in Montreal. And my dad – I would make him the hunter’s stew because we had many discussions about my recipe and I’d want him to enjoy it.
Buy Antoni’s book with 20 per cent off
These recipes are taken from Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski, which is published by Bluebird, price £20. To order a copy for £16 until 6 October, call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.