– Hi guys, I’m Antoni Porowski, and I’m in studio with
The Hollywood Reporter. – Welcome back. – Thank you for having me. – It’s so great to see you. – It’s great to see you,
and I’m already thinking this is sort of like a
continuation of the last time we were together because we
talked about Persian food. – We did talk about Persian food. – Did you notice the two Persian recipes in the book?
– I did, I did. And you’re here to talk
about your cookbook. – I am. – And there are two
Persian dishes in here. Now it was tahdig for
sure with the potato, which not a lot of people do. My mother does it. – I love it with the
potato because it’s like a sweet extra crispy
layer that you can add. – And I call it the pomegranate sauce. – Fesenjan. – Fesenjan. How do you say it better than I do? – I don’t know. I’m probably getting it wrong. But it’s traditionally made with duck, and I make it with chicken
just to make it a little easier and less intimidating because some people
are weirded out by duck even though it’s delicious
and everyone should try it. – It is delightful. I love duck. – Big fan. – You’re here to talk about your cookbook. Now, first of all, can you
believe you have a cookbook? – It’s very, it’s kinda surreal to see. I get emotional a lot,
that’s not saying a lot, but I did, like when I opened it up and the publisher sent me the first copy, I looked at it and I was like, holy crap, this is like months and
months of work and testing and going back and editing all in a book, and it’s out there for everyone to see. – Now, it’s more than a cookbook. You talk about your journey growing up, how you fell in love with food. Tell us a little bit about that. – I’ve been deeply obsessed
with food since I was a kid. My father and my sisters and my mom, everyone is the exact same way, and when I was actually
approached to do a book, first I was shocked that
they wanted 100 recipes. I was thinking, how am I possibly
going to come up with 100? But when I started sort
of thinking about it and my brilliant editor Rux Martin, she not only looks like Grace Coddington but she is like the Grace
Coddington of the culinary world, if you get that reference, she’s amazing. She has big poofy hair,
she lives in Vermont. And basically she was
like, we want you to treat. Because I was like, are we gonna make this like a back to kitchen basics book? Is it gonna be a little bit
more about my Polish heritage? And she was like, it doesn’t
have to be one thing. Just like you, we want to keep it sort of like autobiographical
and you can just kinda go wherever you want with it. Recipes that didn’t make it
into Queer Eye, I put in there. So I just treated it as sort of like starting from the beginning, like dishes that I remember
when I was a little kid and my parents would prepare
for me, the Polish food that I loved and that I was
ashamed of when I got older because being Polish wasn’t
really cool all the time. But then I revisited and
stuff I made when I was like a broke ass student to
the food that I make now to some Queer Eye behind the scenes stuff that never made it, so I put it all in there.
– The testing phase seems so fun, yet so hard. – Testing is fun, but it’s. So basically, we did all of this, and I say we because there’s
such a team of people behind it just like Queer Eye. The way the timing worked out,
because that’s how life is, I had to basically come up
with all of the content for it while we were filming
our Kansas City episodes. We would film 10-12 hour days, and then I would show up at home and have to test out three recipes. And I had a lovely friend
of mine, Mindy Fox, who’s my co-author, she
was on the East Coast, and then Beth Barden,
who was a recipe tester, she did catering for Queer Eye, she helped with the Queer Eye book, and she became a very
near and dear friend, she has an awesome
restaurant called Succotash, and they have the best
Swedish pancakes ever with lingonberry sauce that
her grandmother made for her when she was a kid. – Shameless plug. – It’s so good. If you’re in KC, check it out. And then she would be waiting
for me with three recipes that I would text her during the day, and she would figure out
quantities to put in. Because I’d never measured
anything in my life. Everything is like an Antoni
handful, which is massive, which is probably like two
cups for a normal human being. And then, so I didn’t really know. And she was kind of good
at like reading my mind and figuring out what it was. So I would make three
dishes, she would make three, and then we would taste them all. The most aggressive night was I get meat sweats whenever
I have meat really late, and there was one night where we did the chicken peri livers,
the roast chicken, the steak, the shrimp on a skewer, and the Mykonos pork chop. – [Laela] Oh my. – Which is a lot of meat to eat that late at night.
– That’s a lot. I know what chapter you were in. You were in the meat section. (laughs) – In the meat section, yeah. We gave it a simple name. But yeah, it was nice. It was sort of like, and it was just even working with Beth, I
never like to be alone, and I was like cooking or
having somebody in the vicinity. And with her, it was a nice
opportunity to sort of like let her take over every once in a while or take on certain tasks. I’m not good at having people
help me in the kitchen. I am with other life
stuff, but not with that. I’m a bit of a control freak. And just sort of talking
over, like I don’t know, like even the pork chop, when
we started talking about it, and I was like, well,
why is this important? And I started talking
about how I discovered it in my favorite restaurant
in Mykonos of all places, like you wouldn’t think
that’s where you’d find the best pork chop in the
world but that’s where it is, at a place called Kikis Tavern, this awesome Greek guy
who goes to the market and makes his own salads and has the most amazing
juicy pork chop ever with a beautiful fat cap and just slathers it with
Greek honey and oregano. So it’s like an homage to
recipes that I’ve tried from all over the place. And what I realized very quickly is that it is an autobiography. All these dishes are important. There’s a reason why I keep
making them over and over again. – Which of the dishes in your cookbook is like the quickest to prepare? – (chuckles) Not ironically,
it’s in the dessert section, so I don’t really do desserts. And so, I don’t have a sweet tooth. I’ll always pick cheese and
meat over any type of sweet. And so, my desserts are
actually all homages to the women and a couple of men who had made desserts for me and I got to get in touch with them and get their recipe and
evolve it in some instances. And there’s one there that I smoked a lot of pot in my early 20s, and there’s a nice story
about it in the book. And my very favorite thing to do was combining two beloved products, and one of them is like
a crunchy peanut butter, or you can use almond
butter, cashew butter, whatever nut butter you want, it’s a weird name but it works, and then you take Nutella which is like the peanut butter of Europe, and you make a canele, which
is just a spoon of each, and you just keep on doing this until you have a perfect circle and then you put it on a bit
of parchment or wax paper, you put it in the freezer. And you have a ball of
chocolate and peanut butter and who doesn’t like that? You can roll it around in like a Skor bar or dust it in pretzels
or anything like that. – Wow. Okay, now which one of the recipes takes the longest to prepare? – The one that takes
the longest to prepare I think would be a toss up between the chocolate beer chili and. No, no, it’s the bigos, it’s
the Polish hunter’s stew. So you have to braise
cabbage and sauerkraut because it’s cabbage both ways. And then you have to cook a
lot of basically Polish pork, so kielbasa, which is
like standard kielbasa, we know what it is, kabanos,
which is like a drier version that kind of looks like a pepperoni, with a bit of pork, and
you cook everything down. You render all the fats of it. It gets really nice and crispy. You remove it from the
pan, you have all the fat, and then you put in your
cabbage so it cooks in said fat. There’s a bit of bacon in there as well. And then instead of adding beer
which makes it really hoppy, I swapped it out and did
like a beef bourguignon style of adding a whole bottle of Bordeaux. So it gets like really
fruity and jammy and nice. And then I add some dried
plums and some margarine and Bailey’s and some other stuff. And then you cook it down,
and the best way to do it is actually, my father taught me this, if you leave it in a fridge
or like even in your garage overnight so that it’s able to cut through and then you reheat the next
day and you get crispy bits, and it’s this sweet, salty, sticky stew and you can just smear
it over a nice rye bread with cold butter. It’s the best. – Finish this sentence, everyone
needs to know how to make an insanely good. – French omelet. Start simple, start basic. Sean VanMeter reference to Queer Eye. Know how to make a French omelet. When someone stays at your house, you should be able to prepare
eggs three different ways. It’s sexy. – Okay, okay. Now if fresh food is not an option, what’s better to grab, a canned
vegetable, canned or frozen? – Frozen. – [Laela] Frozen, okay. – Just, try canned peas and try frozen peas. You’ll understand the difference. The canned ones are brown. I have yet to find like
a proper usage for them. And they’re 99 cents. It’s not like they’re more expensive. – You sir are in great shape. You’re around food all the time. What is your philosophy on food? How the heck do you stay healthy? – I am very hyper. I’m also very vain. So I think it’s a good
combination of those two things. I do love to eat well. I don’t like to deny myself
of things that I enjoy, like I have, every weekend,
I have a cheese board. It’s a non-negotiable. It’s just a thing that I have.
– It’s a good way to live. – Usually by myself. There have to be three
different types of cheeses. There’s a nice cute little demo on the full board in the book.
– There is. – But I think it’s all about balance. It’s like during the week,
it’s about eating healthy, and I try to stay away from. Like everyone has their thing. Like if I speak to Tan, for example, his thing is sweets and bread. He will destroy a loaf of bread. I’m not that guy. For me, if you give me a
massive block of cheese or a stick of butter, I can
have a whole stick of butter. No problem. So it’s like dairy fats for
me, those are my trigger. So I try to limit my dairy as
much as I can during the week so then it actually allows me
to enjoy them more on weekends which I really like. – Yeah, there you go,
it’s all about balance. Let’s have some fun, let’s play a game. – Okay. – So I’m gonna show you
a photo of a celebrity, and you tell me what
you would cook for them. – Oh, I like this, that’s cute. – Yeah, could be from the
cookbook, could be just whatever. – Okay, we’ll mix it up.
– Something from the show. Number one. – I had a chance to meet him recently. He’s the sweetest, kindest guy, and he and Amal are like,
they’re the chicest couple to ever grace the Earth. You know what, I know what
I would make for George because he appreciates Italy and he had a place in
Como, maybe he still does, and I’m not sure if he does or not, but when I was there last
time, I saw his place and it was awesome. Finocchio, fennel is
really popular in Italy, and in the south of Italy,
citrus is really big. So there’s a really nice winter,
like a fennel citrus salad with paper thin basically cut fennel and a bunch of different
citrus and pistachios, and that’s something
that’s like really Italian but can be made sort of, it’s evergreen. You can make it year-round. – All right, moving on. We’ve got Leonardo diCaprio. – Leonardo diCaprio, he’s very big into. Who’s the reflection of? Is that him? – No, that’s not definitely him. Who is that?
– That’s someone else, but it looks like. – I don’t hate it. – Okay, Leo. He’s an Italian man. He should know how to make cacio e pepe. And I figured out how to. Are you familiar with cacio e pepe? – [Laela] I know what it is. I’ve never made it.
– It’s actually, it’s technically really weird because there’s no cream added, at least not in a real one. It’s all about the emulsification
of pasta water with cheese and it’s the temperatures of
the bowls that you’re using because you want like a thick creamy sauce that’s not like offensive
amounts of cream, not that we hate that. So I would want to teach him how to make like a very traditional Italian dish. Cacio e pepe for Leo. – All right, last one, Taylor Swift. – I know what I would
make for her actually. – What would you make for her? – Because I have made this
for her, a version of it. It would actually be, oh my gosh, I forgot
what the name of it is, but it’s basically like a lemon
and crumbled sausage pasta that uses, you just
heavily reduce white wine, a lot of lemon, it’s like a
version of spaghetti limone, which is one of my favorite things ever. You cook out all the acid of the lemon, but you have this beautiful
concentrate of this like, it’s like limoncello minus the booze, which is just like this
lemony syrup with a zest, and you have crumbled sausage
and like a shit ton of parsley and it’s just, it’s
like flavorful and fresh and still decadent because it’s pasta. But it’s just, it’s like, it’s the perfect pasta
dish to have in the summer because you know how in the summer you want to eat light but
then sometimes you’re like, I want pasta. That’s the one you want to have. – All right, Antoni in
the Kitchen, out now. – That’s me. – This is you. – Yeah. – Pick it up, it’s in stores. And thanks so much for stopping by. – Thank you for having me, as always.