If you’ve seen Netflix’s Queer Eye, you know Antoni Porowski as the food guy. Every episode of the show, he teaches a helpless person how to make gourmet grilled cheese or fancy guacamole to much online fanfare. However, what viewers don’t get to see during teary-eyed binge-watch marathons is that Antoni could take over Bobby Berk’s spot as head of design. He casually drops names like Karl Springer, Charles Hollis Jones, and Paul Evans and – with a background in art history – calls American and Italian furniture design from the ’50s and ’60s one of his “many obsessions.”
He not only is a whiz in the kitchen (and at the bar, as seen in his partnership with Cointreau liquor) but also seriously knows his stuff. Despite skyrocketing to instant fame and serving as the subject of mass adoration, the 34-year-old chef lives in a humble studio apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, with Joey Krietemeyer, who happens to be the art director at 1stdibs, so you can see how Porowski indulges his obsession. Next step might be getting more drawer and counter space in his kitchen. Read below for all the details of Porowski’s space-saving tips, go-to barware, and ranking of the Fab Five as entertainers.
Architectural Digest: First things first: You live in a studio apartment. How do you entertain?
Antoni Porowski: [laughs] It’s hard. The first big piece that I bought was a vintage Knoll Saarinen table with the Calacatta marble, a classic tulip that I’ve always wanted to have. We have George Nelson chairs that go around it that are the woven ones, and we reupholstered it in a nice velvet. We fit up to six chairs around the table, so that’s it for entertaining, and when we do cocktails, then it’s more like 10–12 people.
AD: What about your kitchen?
AP: My kitchen is limited at best. I have one drawer. But I make do with what I have; it’s taught me to be super efficient in terms of how I clean and how I put things away. I have to clean as I go because I tend to be on the messy side.
AD: Do you have any tips and tricks for keeping things organized?
AP: Learn about your kitchen, learn where everything is. Practice mise en place, which is “put in place” in French, literally. It’s what chefs use in every restaurant, and it’s setting everything up so that when you start cooking you can have everything at your disposal. When you’re entertaining, and I still haven’t accomplished this because I’m always stuck in the kitchen, but spend enough time actually with your guests. It allows you to chill with your friends and be an actual normal human as opposed to being in the kitchen cooking all the time.
AD: What would your dream kitchen look like?
AP: My dream kitchen would have a massive island with some beautiful slab of stone, a huge fridge, possibly even a walk-in – I just want it to be a plethora of fruits and veggies. I would have a nice bar area too. When I want friends to come over, I want them to leave full and tipsy and satiated. I just want everyone to feel like they’re taken care of and they never want to leave. I just love spoiling people with food and drink. It’s my jam.
AD: What essential tools should everyone have?
AP: I have my classic braiser from Le Creuset that’s a beautiful robin’s egg color, which I’ve had for ages. It’s starting to get a nice brown, used color on the bottom, which I love. I make everything in there from pasta sauces to searing a filet or Tomahawk or pork tenderloin; it’s my pride and joy and the best thing to have in the kitchen.
AD: What about stocking a bar cart?
AP: We have a bar cart and we have some beautiful Ralph Lauren herringbone and chevron glasses, which are really sturdy and solid. I like to make margaritas in that stemware; often they’re served in the classic glasses with the stem, but I like something that’s a little more solid, and the thicker crystal keeps the drink cool. So I have those, a bottle of Cointreau, bottles of tequila, vodka, gin – all the clear liquors are good to have for any of your guests. Some white and some red wine. And my trick is that I get sodas in the mini cans – the baby ones that are even smaller than the regular kind – and keep them in the fridge because the fizz tends to go out in the bottles, and it’s just less that’s wasted.
AD: Any other space-saving tips?
AP: For every new thing that I buy, I have to throw something out. I love my kitchen gimmicks; I have a pasta machine because I don’t have the counter space to actually make fresh pasta. I have a juicer, a juice press, a food processor. So the next time I get something I’m going to have to get rid of one of my babies, and I don’t even want to take that on right now.
AD: So out of the Fab Five, who has the best home?
AP: You know what, I’m Canadian, and we tend to be humble, but I’m not going to be. I love my home. We have a massive fig tree and two birds-of-paradise and a big banana tree, and I just love how my home is my sanctuary. When I come home after a long day of work, it’s where I want to be.
AD: Who is the best entertainer?
AP: Jonathan [Van Ness], only because of his energy. You could basically take him into a morgue and it would end up being a celebration of life – that’s just the energy that he brings to any circumstance; he has that magic. I haven’t indulged in Jonathan’s culinary adventures – he’s a very big fan of Postmates – so I don’t know if he’d be the best entertainer, but he’s certainly the life of the party.
AD: Who is the best bartender?
AP: It would probably have to be Bobby [Berk]. He’s more of a wine drinker, but I feel like Bobby would just know. Karamo [Brown] drinks Coke, Jonathan loves a margarita but doesn’t know how to make one, and Tan [France] is more of a chamomile or an Earl Grey tea type. I have yet to have one of Bobby’s cocktails, but I have faith. I can make a mean cocktail, though.
AD: Who is the best baker?
AP: Tan can bake me off of the show. He loves his sweets. I was in Guadalupe, and he came on a family trip with my father and my stepmom. It’s a French island, and every morning he requested to go to a bakery and eat chocolate-filled croissants in the Caribbean in, like, 110-degree weather.
AD: Who is the biggest perfectionist?
AP: If I was posing for a photo, Karamo would come over and tweak my shirt and be like, ‘No, you need to put your chin out more, babe.’ Or, ‘You need to work on your angles and stick your foot out this way.’ He can’t help himself; he’s like Kris Jenner.