Since the premiere of the latest and arguably most heartwarming season of Queer Eye, the Fab Five are bigger and more fabulous than ever. So when we had a chance to chat with Antoni Porowski, the chef in the group, we jumped. On the show, Porowski cooks up simple, flavorful recipes, and he’s even opened his own eatery, The Village Den—think comfort food with a nutritious spin—in New York City. Below, Porowski dishes about all things healthy eating, including why he only consumes solid food between noon and 8 pm.
What do you typically eat in a day?
I start very light in the morning with a smoothie, and then I tend to have a bigger salad for lunch. I like to buy baby kale because, whether you put it with a creamy dressing or a light olive-oil based vinaigrette, it sits really well without getting too mushy.
Spinach is another really nice option that I like to chop up finely. I actually like to keep the stems because it’s a nice added source of fiber. In the winter, I’m obsessed with any type of bitter green, like a radicchio or an endive.
Then at night, I’ll have a smaller amount of protein with a whole bunch of veggies. That’s weeknight eating for me, basically.
We read that you do intermittent fasting…
There’s intermittent fasting, and then there’s controlled-time, and I’ve realized I go by controlled-time [also known as time-restricted eating]. I typically don’t eat any solid food until about 11 am or 12 pm. I’ll just have black coffee before that. Then from 12 pm to 8 pm, I’ll eat whatever I want. That’s not to say I run for the junk food; I still make healthy choices.
Then after 8, I’ll just have some really lovely herbal, flavorful tea, without adding any type of sugar to it. It’s not something that works for everybody, but for my body and my needs, it’s great.
What do you like about that schedule?
From what I’m told, that fasting period allows for a pretty good fat burn. And for me, binge eating is a real thing. I have a lot of trouble stopping to eat, especially when I have something delicious in front of me. When I limit the number of hours that I eat during the day in a healthy way, I find that I actually don’t eat as much because I’m not as ferociously hungry.
Also, knowing I can eat whatever I want during that window makes me feel like I’m not restricting myself. Because food is still literally the most pleasurable thing in the world for me, other than going into a grocery store.
Have you tried any other diet trends?
Naturally my inclinations tend to fall towards keto and paleo. I love high-protein, high-fibrous greens, and a lot of fats. I work out almost every single day, so that’s a diet that works for me. It makes me feel good, and it gives me energy.
If I eat too many carbs like bread and pasta, I get exhausted. That’s vacation or weekend food for me, when I don’t have as much going on. During the week, I try to limit those types of carbs.
That being said, it’s not realistic for me to stick to keto seven days a week, so I do it when I can. Otherwise it’s too much pressure.
Are there any trends you consider unhealthy?
My friends and I have been talking about the whole celery juice trend. I’m not a nutritionist or a dietician, but I do know celery is high in fiber—and by juicing it, you are preventing yourself from having all of that fiber.
What was your favorite food makeover from this season of Queer Eye?
The one that comes to mind is Thomas Diggs. We made a butter-basted steak in a cast-iron skillet, with herbs and garlic and Brussels sprouts. His diet had consisted mainly of tater tots. To show him that anybody can make a beautiful medium-rare steak—and seeing how excited he got about the food—was especially touching. He didn’t have that parental guidance or mentorship when he was growing up, so I was really touched that I was given the opportunity to teach him how to cook.
You’ve partnered with Gorton’s. What made you want to team up with the seafood company?
It started out in a very personal, small way. My parents used to travel a lot when I was younger, and when they weren’t around, we had a lovely nanny who took care of us. She wasn’t as knowledgeable in the kitchen, but still wanted to feed us well, so she would make us Gorton’s. My favorite was the fish sticks, but now they’ve expanded the size to whole fillets of wild Alaskan pollock. I love that Gorton’s fish is sustainable, and frozen on premises, which actually makes fish taste a lot better—and also preserves the nutrients.
Keep scrolling to check out Porowski’s recipe for Baja Style Fish Tacos, using Gorton’s beer-battered fillets.
Baja Style Fish Tacos
Gorton’s Beer Battered Fish Fillets (one per taco)
Chili or taco seasoning, for garnish
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, diced
2 limes (one for zest and juice, second sliced into sixths for serving)
1 teaspoon celery seed
½ red cabbage, sliced finely or shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 roma tomatoes, diced
½ medium red onion, diced
¼ cup cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
Mexican crema (or sour cream or Greek yogurt)
½ teaspoon cumin
Corn tortillas (one per taco)
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