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48 Hours With Antoni Porowski: ‘Queer Eye’ Host and Restaurateur

Category: Food & Drink,Lifestyle

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, at a gym in Lower Manhattan, Antoni Porowski was lying flat on his stomach, working his quadriceps over a foam roller, when he let out an exasperated moan. “I make the same noise after I eat too much as I do after I work out,” he said. Porowski, the food and wine expert on Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” had just completed a rigorous workout led by Akin Akman, the trainer who has helped carve action-figure abs onto the torsos of the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal and David Beckham. Watching from across the room, Akman teased that had Porowski not shown up fifteen minutes late, he could have added squats to the bear walks, medicine ball tosses and monster tire rolling that had left his client spread-eagle on the gym floor. “I really wish I could have got the full workout in,” Porowski said in a sarcastic tone.

Half an hour later, Porowski hopped into a cab heading uptown with Lisle Richards and Eric Marx, his longtime workout buddies and, more recently, business partners. Richards, 38, and Marx, 37, the co-owners of the midtown Manhattan restaurant Wayfarer, have teamed up with Porowski, 34, to open the Village Den, a fast-casual restaurant in the West Village. The décor is bright and appealing, much like the food. On the menu will be macadamia-crusted fish sticks, the green goddess dressing seen on season 2, episode 2, of “Queer Eye” and gluten-free toast topped with avocado — a fruit that Porowski has recently made peace with. (When season 1 debuted earlier this year, critics caviled that Porowski’s recipes, which often incorporated avocado, were too simplistic.)

At the new restaurant space, which still lacked banquettes, Porowski made a beeline for the kitchen. Some minutes later, he emerged, asking his friends to imagine a light dusting of Maldon salt atop the avocado toast he was holding (the restaurant kitchen was not yet fully stocked). As everyone picked at the Vegan Crunchy and Creamy, another dish on the menu, Porowski fired off its elements: roasted sweet potato wedges with chili flakes, roasted chickpeas, turmeric-spiced roasted cauliflower, mirepoix-seasoned beluga lentils and a spicy harissa baba ghanouj, all of which is topped with microgreens, “for all those people who don’t like cilantro, like Ina Garten and Jonathan Van Ness.” The food was deemed delicious.

An hour later, Porowski was standing in his boxers at a private Chelsea apartment. He was there for a fitting with his stylist, Matt Bidgoli, for the 70th annual Emmy Awards (“Queer Eye” took home two awards). He tried on a Thom Browne suit and pondered the wild ride of the past several months.

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