Everything Antoni Has Taught Us About Food On ‘Queer Eye’

By: Kish
August 05, 2019

If you cleared your entire weekend to indulge in a new show on Netflix, you’re not alone. One show we can’t help but watch all at once is the reboot of Queer Eye. It’s one of the most binge-able, feel-good shows on the streaming platform.

Throughout four seasons, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness, and Antoni Porowski captured hearts across the world with their tear-jerking transformations. Breaking down the barriers of the original show, the experts give makeovers to everyone from every sort of background imaginable. As we watch, cry, laugh, and squeal at our televisions, we also pick up a few handy tips along the way.

Each of the Fab 5 stepped into the roles of the original quintet. And while fashion consultant, Tan teaches us loads about putting an outfit together (thank god for the French tuck) Antoni, the resident food specialist has given away some incredible cooking expertise.

Early on, some people were critical of Antoni’s cooking skills. Season 1 viewers noticed the recipes he suggested to Queer Eye subjects didn’t involve any cooking. Junkee writer, Patrick Lenton was especially confused and noted, “For a bunch of firefighters, he makes hot dogs. For a Trump-voting cop, he literally places cut avocado next to slices of cut grapefruit and pretends it’s a salad. What the hell is going on?”

But Antoni stepped it up in Season 4. Squid ink risotto, garlic-heavy dishes, and protein-packed pancakes are just some of the handy meals he teaches us about. Here are some of his other food tips.

1. Raw Zucchini Is Exquisite

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Not all vegetables need to be cooked to be tasty.

It’s totally safe – and delicious – to eat raw zucchini! While Antoni specifically recommends shaving the zucchini with a peeler and drizzling olive oil, salt, and lemon juice over it for a quick and crunchy bite there are lots of other ways to eat it. He was inspired during an episode on Season 3 when makeover candidate Chris had a vegetable patch with a nice juicy zucchini growing in it. But you don’t need to be an organic farmer to recreate this recipe! Just head down to your local grocery store and get eating.

2. Take Inspiration From Restaurants

Those aspirational moments can go back home with you.

Have you ever been out for a meal at your favorite restaurant and everything from the main course, silverware, drinking glasses, and appetizers are to die for? What if you could recreate that same experience back at home? You can! In Queer Eye Season 3, Antoni suggests taking notes from the restaurant and implementing those ideas into your own kitchen. If you like the meal, look up the recipe and try it at home!

3. Try Porchetta Instead Of A Regular Burger

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Or use it as a substitute for any meat – you won’t be disappointed.

Porchetta is slow-roasted pork belly, with crisp fennel-infused flavor. If your mouth is watering, you’re not alone. As evidenced in Season 3, Antoni loves porchetta. And instead of using it as a centerpiece at dinner, he substitutes a traditional burger with a hunk of the juicy, crispy pork. Using a dry coffee rub with chili powder and brown sugar, Antoni rolls the porchetta up “like a meat cigar,” and roasts it until done. Get us a porchetta burger stat!

4. Don’t Throw Away Cilantro Stems

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Every part of this fragrant herb is useful.

If a recipe calls for cilantro (which is also called coriander in some parts of the world) and you want a little bit of crunch, use the stems! In the show’s third season, Antoni actually suggests using the stems to create a flavorful slaw with cabbage, cilantro, mayo, the juice from canned chipotle, as well as apple cider vinegar. The mix sounds tangy, acidic, and creamy. So, obviously, it needs to get in our bellies right now.

5. High Tea Is A Must

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We all love spilling the tea, but sipping it is underrated.

We can’t imagine living anywhere that doesn’t have a kettle, teapot, and a tea leaf strainer. And we love having that in common with the Fab 5’s food expert. Antoni is a huge fan of using high tea time as a period for relaxation. And everyone could benefit from this. Before you start imagining scenes from an episode of Downton Abbey, though, high tea doesn’t need to be overly fancy. Cucumber sandwiches, a pot of tea, cake, and good company are the only things you really need.

6. More Butter Makes Anything More Delicious

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But that isn’t always the healthiest.

We all love the way butter coats our tongues as we eat a rich meal. And as Antoni points out in Queer Eye‘s third iteration, butter takes most meals up a notch. IT isn’t always the best ingredient to add indiscriminately, though. Indulgence is always on the menu, but we should aim to minimize our butter when we can. You can try other options like olive oil. And sometimes you can even skip the heavy fat all together!

7. Making Your Own Ramen Can Be Easy

And we’re not talking about the kind that comes in a cup either.

Ramen sometimes has a bad rap, as it’s usually associated with instant noodles. In reality, though, authentic ramen has a delectable, slow-cooked broth that is seasoned and flavorful. In Antoni’s ramen version, he cooks carrots, ginger, garlic, miso, and red chili paste with sesame oil, ground pork, and chicken broth. It’s a great dish to feed an army or a group of friends.

8. Fish Sticks Can Be Fancy And Healthy

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Lean fish and a bread crumb substitute completely change the game.

If you watch Queer Eye it’s clear that Antoni tries to inspire healthy choices without sacrificing taste. And these fancy fish sticks are a great example of those two values rolled into one. Kids can be picky eaters and sometimes all they want are fish sticks. In Season 3 Episode 6, Antoni suggests using Mahi Mahi, a leaner fish, and crushing macadamia nuts as a bread crumb substitute. Sign us up!

9. Brussel Sprouts Are Delightful

Even though they smell like farts.

We all grew up thinking Brussel sprouts were gross. But as adults, we know they’re delicious right? If you still need convincing, Antoni has a hack from the seventh episode in Season3. First, frying and roasting trumps boiling these spherical green morsels of goodness. And there’s also a specific way to cut them. Core the center of the Brussel sprout, cut off the bottom part into a V-shape, and voila! Delicious greens.

10. Steak Is Easier To Prep Than You Think

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You can keep the flavors simple.

Using a dollop of butter, a clove of garlic, and sprigs of rosemary, Antoni cooks steak really simply. And he even has a basic test to check how the meat is doing on the inside. “There’s a trick to test steak to know if it’s medium-rare, rare, medium, or well-done,” Porowski says. “You take your finger and you touch the joint of your thumb, and that’s what texture should be like. If you take your pinkie and you touch where your thumb joint is, it presses down, but it’s really still nice and firm.”

11. It’s Smart To Encourage Kids’ Interest In Cooking

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If your children show a blossoming curiosity in the kitchen, don’t shut it down.

You’ve probably heard that food brings people together, and that statement holds true with kids too. While most children love licking the mixing bowl clean, some might show a keen interest in using the actual mixer. Encourage that bubbling passion, and start cooking the basics with your kids in tow. Antoni suggests making sugar cookies in Season 3 or even almond flour pancakes. But you can figure out the appropriate recipe as you go. You’ll make incredible memories. And who knows, you could even have a Michelin Star chef in the making.

12. A Double Boiler Is A Life Saver

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If you’ve ever burnt chocolate this handy tip is for you.

While you can buy an actual double boiler, the ever-thrifty Antoni shows us how to make our own in Season 4. Place a metal bowl on top of a pot with boiling water. This way of melting chocolate or even cheese uses steam to warm what’s in the bowl. It’s the key to avoid burning heat-sensitive foods.

13. Keep A Towel Handy At All Times

He mentions this tip during almost every episode in Season 4.

Cooking can get very messy, but Antoni has a handy tip to keep things clean.  Throw a towel over your shoulder before you start chopping, sauteeing, boiling, and mixing. That way, you’ll never be too far from a clean surface. Moreover, it saves on paper towels and keeps you hygienic as you flex your culinary skills.

14. Spices Are Essential

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We can’t imagine cooking without them.

It’s easy to get stuck in a routine when cooking dinner every night. But if you’re itching to spice things up, Antoni has you covered. Just add spices! Update your spice cabinet, and you’ll be transforming meals in no time. Antoni also loves using a mortar and pestle to grind his own spices, and we don’t blame him. Unleash aromatics in your own kitchen while building those biceps. It’s a win-win!

15. You Can Do A Lot With A Rotisserie Chicken

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Everyone’s favorite grocery staple just got the Queer Eye stamp of approval.

We all love a good rotisserie chicken with any mid-week meal, but Antoni showed us how to have a little more fun with one. In Season 4, he serves the chicken with maple syrup roasted sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash and we’re in awe. Maybe it’s time to step up our rotisserie chicken game and find new ways to use the most versatile meat in the grocery aisle.

16. Peeling Garlic Is Easier Than You Think

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Ditch the peeler and get ready to put those biceps to use.

There are a zillion garlic-peeling hacks on the internet, but Antoni swears by this extremely simple tip. Pick out a single clove of garlic, grab a knife, and pound on the clove (with the knife’s flat side) until it separates away from the peel. Once the clove is out of its skin you can chop it, dice it, and use the same technique again to mash that into a garlic paste.

17. Roasting Is Superior To Baking (Sometimes)

If you’re looking for crispy rather than cakey, it’s time to get roasting.

But what’s the difference? Roasting calls for a higher temperature, think 400°F and above, to produce a crispy, brown, and tasty crust on the outside. Baking, however, is done on lower oven temperatures, so nothing higher than 375°F. Roasting works especially well for vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and Antoni’s favorite – spaghetti squash. Brushing on a little maple syrup helps with the veggies’ caramelization process and adds that X factor.

18. Pancakes Can Be Packed With Protein

Using almond flour is a game-changer.

Everyone has their own reliable pancake recipe, but Antoni suggests swapping out regular flour for something else. Take almond flour. It’s a lot higher in protein and lower in carbs than plain flour and tastes just as good. There’s also an added bonus. As the almond flour has a naturally sweeter taste, you’ll need to add less sugar. Know what that means you can add on in heaps? More berries, more syrup, and more chocolate chips.

19. Dairy In Guacaomole Can Be A Good Thing

Remember when Antoni was crucified for adding greek yogurt to guac in Season 1?

Well, he’s finally received the validation he’s been waiting for. In Season 4, Antoni meets a Mexican-American family who also adds dairy to their guacamole. While the food expert seems to add greek yogurt and lime juice to keep the guacamole from browning, the matriarch of this family admits to adding sour cream just for the taste. Sounds delicious to us!

20. You Have To Get The Real Parmigiano Reggiano

You’ll never look at the green canister stuff ever again.

Do you know the difference between parmesan and Parmigiano Reggiano?  If you’re a fan of the powdery parmesan that comes in a big green container, you may be shocked to find out that it’s actually an imitation of the real stuff. Parmigiano Reggiano is sharper with a bold flavor. Expect it to knock your socks off if you’re a cheese fan. Antoni is anti-parmesan and definitely recommends the real stuff for an authentic Italian meal.

21. Pasta Water Needs To Be Salty

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Everyone knows to salt their pasta water, but how much salt is too much?

Turns out there might be no such thing as too much salt. There’s an old adage that pasta water should taste like the sea and Antoni seriously agrees. He mentions this in Season 4 while preparing a delicious carbonara dish filled with peas, Parmigiano Reggiano, and bacon. The heavily-salted water helps your pasta burst with flavor.