Many of us have been sipping on our favorite alcoholic beverages a little bit more these last few months, but Antoni Porowski has been using booze to cook.
The Queer Eye food expert, 36, teamed up with Peroni to serve as the brand’s holiday host this year (and first official spokesperson!), PEOPLE can exclusively reveal. As part of the gig, Porowski created four Peroni-inspired aperitivo recipes, including a lemon artichoke dip and a citrusy cocktail, that use the Italian beer in nontraditional ways.
“I love Italian food. I have extreme Italian envy, so I thought, how awesome to be asked to develop Italian recipes,” the Canada native tells PEOPLE. “It was just such a fun exercise to kind of look at traditional Italian dishes, look at the holidays and get excited about it, even though it's definitely not going to be the way that it was, at least for me.”
No matter what your holiday plans are amid the pandemic, Porowski, who’s also offering three contest winners the chance to cook his Peroni creations with him over Zoom, recommends not taking yourself too seriously in the kitchen.
“You want to impress people. You want to make something beautiful that people really enjoy. But just keep it really nice and simple,” he says. “Let yourself make mistakes too. The amount of chickens that I've roasted in my lifetime that I screwed up because they were too pink on the inside, I'm still alive. Just don't eat the pink chicken,” he jokes.
Even the New York Times best-selling cookbook author admits, “None of us will ever be Jacques Pépin or Julia Child.”
Porowski has enjoyed doing more leisurely cooking while at home with his boyfriend, ad executive Kevin Harrington, and his foster dog Neon, who he quips “appears to be permanently mine now.”
“My one obsession has been eggs,” he says. “I love a good ritual and just getting obsessive over one thing and figuring out how to do it perfectly. It was a thing that I got to do for Kevin every day — greet him in the morning after our workout and bring him the perfect soft scramble.”
The key to his scrambled eggs: “It's not sour cream. It's not extra yolks. It's adding water,” Porowski says. “If you add somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon for every two eggs to your mix and then you whisk your eggs up, they will be creamy and fluffy and delicious. Add salt, only at the end, because it makes them separate while they're cooking. And also, take your eggs off of the pan a minute before you think they're ready. They're going to continue heating in that pan.”
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The star, who often shares these types of tips and tricks on Queer Eye, won’t be returning to filming anytime soon. (“Can you imagine having an emotional goodbye with the hero and then not hugging them?” Porowski says. “It's just like, wave from a distance with our shield. That just doesn't work for us. I’d rather wait until it's safe.”) So being able to whip up meals in his own kitchen and partner with Peroni to bring his recipes into other people's homes around the holidays lets Porowski still share his love of cooking.
“I think it's important to try to find the joy in whatever it is that we can because it's hard,” he adds. “Food still manages to bring me a lot of joy.”
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