Antoni Porowski hasn’t read the article you wrote about him. He hasn’t entertained the theories that question whether he, the cooking expert of the Netflix Queer Eye reboot, can cook. He hasn’t seen the avocado memes that flooded Twitter, poking fun at how frequently he employs the use of his favourite ingredient. Porowski no longer engages with the swarm of the Antoni Truthers — which he hopes has subsided by now, nearly two months after the show's premiere.
“All of the ‘can he even cook’ has calmed down,” Porowski said, with a note of relief, when I spoke to him earlier on Monday. “Or maybe I’m just more ignorant because I don’t read anything anymore. I used to limit my reading, but now I actually don’t read anything.”
On 26th March the second season of Queer Eye was confirmed in a flurry of excited social media posts from the Fab Five (though are their posts ever not excited?). Season 2 of Queer Eye is also an eight-episode opportunity for Porowski to demonstrate his culinary prowess, should he feel the need to "prove" himself. Will the unbridled response to Queer Eye change Porowski’s approach to mentoring each episode's subject?
In terms of season 2, it’s too late for Porowski to incorporate the internet’s feedback into his tutorials. The first two seasons were actually filmed consecutively, so the second season's footage is complete (to think, there are eight more Bobby Berk Living Rooms™ out there in the world, existing, without us to ogle them). Porowski hinted that the upcoming season would feature people whose skills sets would be very basic — “make a sandwich” level — and more advanced, as well, giving him the chance to highlight more complicated recipes. “A lot of heritage comes in as well,” he said. “Looking at our family past, our roots, and where we come from.”
But even if Porowski had the chance to incorporate feedback into his season 2 strategy, there are certain aspects of his approach he would never alter — including his use of avocados, his favourite pitted fruit, in his tutorials. “If the person needs avocados, then I’m not going to deny them avocados because some troll decided I use avocados too much. If the person needs it, I’m not going to withhold that because of what outside perception of me using a certain ingredient is like,” Porowski said.
But what about Porowski's approach to season 3 or, if we’re lucky, season 20, of Queer Eye? In the far future, you might see a change in the way Porowski cooks on the show.
“If we do get picked up for future seasons, I think it's a good challenge to not do three or four recipes for each hero, and to focus on one thing that really makes it and makes a strong impact. To do something that really makes a splash — and makes it into the episode,” Porowski said.
Porowski touches on an important point: Many of the Fab Five’s individual sessions never made it into the final cuts of the 40-minute episodes. From Porowski’s elaborate cooking sessions to Berk’s systematic house dismantling, there's simply so much we didn’t get to see. In the first episode, for example, Porowski and Tom Jackson actually made an elaborate Mexican-inspired dinner – but all we saw them make was, you guessed it, guacamole.
By limiting the number of tutorials he completes, Porowski might have more control over what actually ends up in the episode (and thus stifle the cries of the Antoni Truthers). Still, Porowski emphasises that Queer Eye isn’t about him, or his reputation, or even about cooking — it’s about helping people.
“Yes, I’d love to have every component be shown. Just to show everybody what a great job I think I did with these people. But sometimes it just doesn’t make it,” he said.
For now, with seasons 1 and 2 complete, Porowski has time to devote to his principal interests. He’s learning Italian, going to acting auditions, and working on a potential cookbook project. “I’m putting it out there. I have a memory bank of recipes that I’m starting to organise and curate into a grouping. I’m hoping it’s something I get to work on in the near future,” he said.
When I asked whether Porowski would consider hosting his own cooking show (because we've all thought it), he didn’t balk at the idea. “I would want to do a cooking show. But I want to honour the opportunity that’s been given to me with Queer Eye. I feel like my work is cut out for me with the show alone. If it ever goes bust, then I’ll explore that possibility,” he said.
Of course, Porowski is also enjoying what he loves most: cooking. In addition to trying out more recipes at home, Porowski looks forward to “hosting dinners and showing thanks to those who were supportive of me when I was trying to get to this point." And that, my Antoni truthers, probably will not include you.