The untold truth of Antoni Porowski

Antoni Porowski is the quietest member of the Fab Five, but he's also somehow the one who attracts the most controversy. However, whether he can actually cook or not seems irrelevant when he's that nice to look at (stay off his Instagram page — it's like quicksand), but the debate rages on. Aside from being arguably the most beautiful man ever to grace our television screens, Porowski is a proud immigrant, a proud Canadian, and a proud connoisseur of all things edible. 

Although Porowski features on one of the most vocally gay-positive shows of all time, he often struggles with his own identity. There's a keen sense that he doesn't want to be put in a box or to give too much away about himself, in spite of his burgeoning celebrity. If nothing else, Porowski is, first and foremost, himself. Everything else is a matter of perspective. 

This is the untold truth of Queer Eye's food and wine guy who, it goes without saying, is more than just a TV chef (if even that). 

Antoni Porowski was almost Antoni Porter

Antoni Porowski was actually the first member of his family born outside of Europe, having been born in Montreal, Canada. As he discussed on his episode of co-star Jonathan Van Ness' podcast, Getting Curious, Porowski's mother was born in Warsaw, Poland along with both of his sisters, while his father was born in Brussels, Belgium. Although the reality star is very proud of being an immigrant and, by his own admission, of growing up in multicultural Montreal, he initially struggled with his identity because of his surname.

Porowski regaled Van Ness with stories of sharing food from different backgrounds at school potluck dinners and of how important holding onto customs and ancestry is to Canadians in contrast to Americans. However, he revealed that he had quietly considered changing his surname to something more American — like Porter or Portman — in order to fit in better. Thankfully, Porowski opted not to do so. Now that he, as a TV star with an instantly recognizable Polish name, gets so many supportive messages from gay Polish men, he's glad to have the moniker. 

Antoni ​Porowski's parents don't know what he majored in

Although he's probably used to people assuming he has a lack of formal education in the culinary arts, there's more of a story to Antoni Porowski's college life than one might assume. As he admitted during a hilariously frank group chat with Vulture, in which the whole Queer Eye cast took part, Porowski actually graduated with an entirely different major than what his own parents had thought. 

While the Fab Five discussed mentors who had made a significant impact on their lives, Porowski admitted that a professor of his, who also headed the theater department, encouraged him to act upon discovering that Porowski was failing all of his classes (he was majoring in commerce at the time). Porowski said, after finding his footing, "I ended up graduating in creative arts, and my parents still don't know to this day. They think I graduated from commerce." Well, they probably do know now

Antoni ​Porowski shows love through food

Although the rebooted Queer Eye is ostensibly a makeover show, anybody who actually watches it will know that it's so much more than that. And nowhere is that more obvious than in its "food and wine" guy's passionate discussions about the series and his role in it. "It's a service show," he told Elle simply of Queer Eye. "It's a service job, to figure out how we can cater to these people."

It makes sense that Antoni Porowski would see things this way considering how he is the kind of guy who spends the majority of a party in his comfort zone: the kitchen. "If I'm at someone's house and I'm not going to be cooking ... I love doing the dishes at the end," he explained. Porowski has always showed love through food, even if it results in a solitary existence for him. "Nobody helps me. That's just who I am. I don't know how to be any other way," he admitted. 

English is not Antoni ​Porowski's first language

With a surname like Porowski, it's obvious that the Queer Eye star comes from a diverse background. Aside from being the first in his family to be born outside of Europe, he also counts Polish as his first language rather than English. As he told co-star Jonathan Van Ness on his Getting Curious episode, and later demonstrated by speaking a little bit on the spot to JVN's audible delight, Antoni Porowski can rattle off Polish well enough to engage with the locals. 

He can typically discuss his journey with cab drivers and gab about their surroundings. However, when the conversation turns political, he finds himself a bit lost. The TV chef prides himself on his accent, but he admits that his vocabulary is diminishing the longer he spends living and working in a predominantly English-speaking country. Ever the over-achiever, however, Porowski also speaks French fluently, having spent the first part of his life living in Montreal.   

Antoni ​Porowski doesn't consider himself gay, bi, or straight

Antoni Porowski initially struggled with being cast on Queer Eye because he doesn't actually consider himself to be traditionally gay. As Porowski admitted in his May 2018 Gay Times cover story, "I've always considered myself a little more fluid along the spectrum." However, the foodie doesn't consider himself bisexual or straight either. If he could have it his way, there wouldn't be any labels for what or who he is besides simply "Antoni." 

Of his current situation, he remains reticent. "Today I'm gay, I'm in a gay relationship, and that's where I am. That's good enough for me," Porowski explained simply at the time. And, as he admitted in his February 2018 interview with GQ, he's actually had more "real" relationships with women than men, only counting two gay relationships over the course of his life to that point. As far as Porowski is concerned, it's all love.  

Antoni ​Porowski never really came out

One of the most moving segments on Queer Eye to date — which is quite the accomplishment, given how easily the show elicits tears — showcased each of the Fab Five's coming out stories. Antoni Porowski claimed he had come out to his father via text message but, as he revealed to GQ, that wasn't actually the case. "I never really had a coming out. ... He [Porowski's father] made a comment driving me to the airport that I certainly lead a very discreet life," he revealed.

Porowski then decided to send an email before takeoff, telling his father that he was living with his then-boyfriend and he was very happy. "'You brought this up. I think it's time I tell you: I love. I am loved. His name is Joey, and we live together.' That was it," he recalled. As the TV chef explained to GQ, his sexuality is something very private to him, so he didn't feel the need to "come out" in any formal sense. 

Antoni ​Porowski had a difficult time after moving to the U.S.

After spending his formative years in the multicultural Montreal, Antoni Porowski's family upped and moved to West Virginia. Young Porowski was in seventh grade at the time and found the transition into American schooling difficult — particularly because he could speak multiple languages, which was something the other kids didn't understand or appreciate. As Porowski detailed to Jonathan Van Ness on Getting Curious, even his teacher took issue with his linguistic abilities. She wondered why he didn't just speak English like everybody else. 

Porowski was also the subject of xenophobic comments about Canadians living in Teepees, as well as a general misunderstanding that immigrants weren't just people fleeing their home countries out of fear. He was even called an alien and picked on for his super-healthy, ethnically diverse school lunches. The young man soon surrounded himself with like-minded peers and stopped caring about what others thought. Although careful not to bash West Virginia, Porowski did note that the bullying had an effect on his cultural identity, at least for a while. 

Antoni ​Porowski got a leg up from a Queer Eye alum

As noted by Elle, Antoni Porowski's career aspirations never included Queer Eye, or even anything like it. After college, Porowski moved to NYC to focus on auditioning, and he waited tables to support himself financially. A chance meeting with Ted Allen, the original "food guy" from Queer Eye's first inception, led Porowski to a job as a personal assistant and a mentorship that would change his life.   

It was actually Allen who suggested he go out for the reboot (but, as Elle noted, it was Porowski's very personalized and quite lengthy description of his ideal last meal that landed him the job). "Because I didn't have a master plan for this, I'm kind of rolling with the punches," Porowski admitted. "I had a bit of impostor syndrome in the beginning, where I felt like I wasn't gay enough or didn't deserve to have this public position. So I said yes to everything." The rest is history. 

Antoni ​Porowski doesn't care if you don't think he can cook

Each member of the Fab Five serves a purpose... except Antoni Porowski. At least, according to the Internet, where there's been plenty of discussion about whether or not Porowski can actually cook thanks, in large part, to his super simple recipes on the show. The fledgling chef himself acknowledged to Elle that Queer Eye isn't about him, explaining, "The show is not a vehicle for me to proverbially jerk off my skills. That's not the purpose of the show."

Porowski got into it further with NME, acknowledging that he's never claimed to be a professional chef. Rather, he's a food lover and creative who simply wants to share with others. "I am someone who food has been a constant in my life, and it's been a passion, it's something that I've constantly studied, and I'm constantly trying to better my craft, and that's good enough for me. And I know the people who eat my food really enjoy it, and those are the people who matter at the end of the day," he stated. 

Antoni ​Porowski's still figuring out who he is

Given how Antoni Porowski grew with a recognizably different surname than his American peers and struggled with his sexuality, it's not surprising to learn he is still figuring out his identity. As the reality star admitted to GQ, he often finds himself feeling jealous of co-star Jonathan Van Ness, who just is who he is. "You look at somebody like Jonathan, who I envy the comfort that he has in his own skin. With him ... he's just Jonathan, and he's always that same person. I've had a lot of shifts. It's been more of a metamorphosis and figuring out who I am, and I still think that I'm on that path," he revealed. 

Porowski feels slightly more comfortable in his own skin since Queer Eye, with those close to him even noting how much "gayer" he's become since appearing on the show. Although Porowski has no regrets about the life he's lived, he feels like he's still learning when it comes to his own identity and his place in gay culture. 

Antoni Porowski's kitchen is full of strange surprises

Given that Antoni Porowski is Queer Eye's resident food expert, fans were understandably eager to get a glimpse inside his own kitchen. In 2019, Delish stopped by Porowski's chic New York apartment to see what he's working with, noting that it's complete with all the requisite appliances (including an espresso machine, stand mixer, full-size toaster, and a Vitamix), a huge island (Porowski's favorite part, as "that's where everyone congregates when they come to my house"), and, naturally, a massive fridge.

Porowski also answered the all-important question of what's always in his fridge with, well, nostalgia, revealing that is contains "maple syrup from Vermont that [his] dad gets." Porowski shared, "He's a physician, he works in a hospital, and one of the nurses has her own maple farm. They make their own maple syrup." His fridge also boasts the same Gordon's fish sticks he ate as a child, and he noted, "The lovely folks at Belvedere sent me a bottle of vodka with my name on it and...it lights up! For a Polish father to have his Polish son's name on a bottle of vodka was by far the proudest moment my dad ever had." 

Antoni Porowski proved his chops with a bestselling cookbook

Anybody still claiming Antoni Porowski is just a pretty face who knows his way around some avocado toast should look to his New York Times bestselling cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen. As Porowski explained, his is no ordinary cooking tome, as he "approached the book ... by making it deeply personal, and looking at it as a memoir." As he told GQ, the reality star was tasked with coming up with 100 recipes, most of which didn't make it into the hit Netflix show.

His editor, eager to ensure the book wasn't gimmicky, told Porowski, "'You are your best on Queer Eye when you're most yourself and you open up and be vulnerable. Let's treat the cookbook the exact same way.'" As a result, Porowski's love of frozen peas, and some of the food he ate while studying at college, features prominently. There are plenty of photos of the man himself too, of course, as this is still Porowski's book. He told the New York Times, "What I'm meant to do on this earth is to get people excited about cooking," noting, "We all have our own culinary memoir."

Antoni Porowski has body image issues just like everybody else

As shocking as it might seem for someone who looks like he does, and who posts frequently on social media showing off his toned, near-perfect physique, Antoni Porowski has insecurities just like everybody else. Speaking to Glamour, he admitted he began having body image issues after dating men, revealing, "It was my first relationship with a guy where I looked at myself and I was like, 'Oh my biceps aren't as big as his, I wish my legs were longer, I wish my torso was longer.' I got really self-conscious and it was the comparison." 

The proud foodie acknowledged he's hard on himself because he loves to eat, but the Queer Eye star refuses to starve. Still wanting to look and feel great, particularly on camera, Porowski advised it's all about balance. "I have days when I wake up, feel like human garbage and eat plant based and go to the gym twice a day and then I have days where I feel really good about myself and destroy two burgers in a day with a pizza and a milkshake and maybe have a chocolate bar," he said.    

Antoni Porowski sees Instagram as "performance art"

Ever since Queer Eye made him a star, Antoni Porowski has embraced his role as the sexy TV chef with aplomb. His Instagram is packed with glamour shots of him looking gorgeous, usually next to some delicious-looking food or an adorable dog. Plenty of people criticize him for allegedly not being able to cook, but even more have an issue with Porowski seemingly showing off on social media. In an interview with StyleCaster, he admitted to being confused by the response. "I didn't think there was going to be such a reaction to the objectivity of my physical appearance. I get a lot of comments that I'm basically this thirsty guy who's posting shirtless photos," he revealed. 

Thankfully, he shrugs the negativity off, even finding humor in it. He explained, "I kind of see it as a character." The cookbook author admitted, "I don't want to call it performance art, because that sounds pretentious and giving it way too much credit. But I love playing around with people's perceptions of me and giving them what they want and then doing something different." As far as he's concerned, it's all in good fun.  

Antoni Porowski feuded with Martha Stewart... sort of

With Antoni Porowski's star on the rise, he reached out to the queen of cooking herself, Martha Stewart, and the two became fast friends. In December 2019, the Queer Eye star attended a festive party at Stewart's home and posted several shots of her dogs and stables. However, he apparently committed a cardinal sin. Stewart playfully commented, "Dear antoni: this is @marthastewart48 You did not tag me on this photo of my stable nor the photo of my beautiful dogs Han, Qin, bete noir and creme brulee. We are bummed about that because you have so many followers and you are [sic] my Christmas cookies!!!"

Porowski quickly edited his tags to include her, later taking to Instagram Stories to express regret, saying (via Screen Rant), "Apologies for not respectfully mentioning dear doggos Empress Chin, Emperor Han, Bête Noire, and cuddle monster Créme Brûlée." Stewart jokingly commented in response, "I think we started a social media 'feud' which was not the point I just wanted you to acknowledge my fire, my animals and my food which you seemed to love???" Thankfully, the culinary masters made up and all is well once more. 

Antoni Porowski is an incredibly anxious person

In keeping with many stars, Antoni Porowski isn't entirely comfortable with all the attention he gets on a regular basis — even the positive kind. Working on himself in therapy since he was a teenager has given him a lot of relief, but Porowski still harbors plenty of anxiety. "I'm very afraid in life, of everything, the small things, the big things," he told GQ. "But the one thing that I've always prided myself on is the fact that I really get off on fear.'"

Queer Eye has provided a platform for Porowski to open up about his issues and to reach out to others, too. As he sees it, "Any opportunity to advocate for mental health awareness is incredibly important because it's something that I've struggled with and I continue to struggle with, but I'm figuring it out." While using his fear to push himself forward, Porowski is also doing his best to utilize his ADHD and social anxiety to his advantage rather than, he said, "feeling sorry for myself, which I spend a lot of my life doing."