Antoni Porowski On His New Show Easy-Bake Battle: The Home Cooking Competition - Exclusive Interview

The five men of the iconic "Queer Eye" crew have made their way in the television industry after Netflix's "Queer Eye" reboot came to light. Now, the food industry's Antoni Porowski has his own show that is sure to be a treat — literally. Netflix's "Easy-Bake Battle: The Home Cooking Competition" officially debuts on October 12 with eight 30-minute episodes. According to the synopsis, "Easy-Bake Battle" is inspired by the nostalgic Easy-Bake Oven we all wished for as a kid. The competitors are asked to utilize their most premium kitchen hacks in the most efficient and effective way possible. 

If you are starving for a new show to binge-watch, this one is definitely it. In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Porowski divulged what he is most excited for on the show and even revealed some behind-the-scenes mishaps that didn't make it into the final cut. Porowski is also known for his superlative cooking tips and his ever-growing love for corgis, and although the corgis were a kitchen no-no, he did tell us some helpful food hacks. In addition, he's the go-to culinary connoisseur on "Queer Eye," so it only makes sense that he named the one cast member he prefers to cook for as well.

What makes Easy-Bake Battle so unique to Porowski

Congrats on your new show, "Easy-Bake Battle." What about the show are you most excited about?

It's the contestants. It's these people who've been cooking for either themselves or their significant others, or these moms who've been making meals for their families, and showing that what they do has so much worth. Just because you don't have a million eyeballs on it ... I get that they will hopefully have a lot of eyeballs now that the show is coming out, but what they do at home every single day for themselves and for their families is important and it is worth it.

That's something that I learned on Queer Eye that stuck with me. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted my next thing to be, that's something that I wanted to honor and continue to do.

From your previous experience, and now you're judging on the show, what would you say is your best baking hack?

Well, as somebody who doesn't bake, because I'm much more into cooking than I am into baking ... I'll talk of something that I do know a little bit about. It's cookies. I actually learned this from Tan [France], and from Jacques Torres, another guest judge on "Easy-Bake Battle." They should be taken out of the oven, not unlike soft scrambled eggs, about a minute or two before you think that they're done. You want an ooey-gooey center and those crispy edges. Also, [you want to] flatten out a cookie so that they cook evenly, or keep it a little thicker in the middle so that it stays a little raw right in the center.

Porowski reveals behind-the-scenes details from the show

Would you describe your judging style more like Paul Hollywood or Prue Leith?

I lean a little more Prue, in terms of I'm not somebody who's ... I'm Canadian; we're not as direct. We try to lead by making sure that everyone loves us, as opposed to brutal honesty. But I would definitely lean a little more Prue, although she can be pretty direct too, sometimes.

Were there any behind-the-scenes fails that may not have made it onto the show?

We did [have one]. There was one little incident where one of the contestants — I'm not going to throw them under the bus — had a little mishap accident while cooking. They had a small injury; it wasn't anything that was serious. I was surprised by how quickly they wanted to get right back into it as soon as they were fine and the medics confirmed. It was the tip of their finger, basically. But you have to be careful with sanitation and all that stuff.

[They] sealed up the finger really quick, and they were basically good to go. But it was stressful because under the time constraints, you want to get that meal out there as quickly as possible, because timing is something that's incredibly important. They cared so much that they just wanted to get the job done. I really respected that.

Is there a pet that is featured as a mascot in the show like "Queer Eye," and maybe any corgis that make an appearance?

No corgis, unfortunately. I have a pit bull rescue from Austin named Neon the mutt. You can follow her at @neonthemutt on Instagram. Did I have the idea of making her a mascot on the show in one of the first creative calls with Netflix? I did. Was that kiboshed very quickly? It absolutely was, because dogs probably shouldn't be on a food set where there are open containers of food — especially with somebody like her, who's food driven and has zero self-control. That's not unlike myself whenever there's something delicious to eat.

Porowski reveals the easiest Queer Eye cast member to cook for

If you had to bake a simple dessert for your "Queer Eye" co-stars with an Easy-Bake Oven, what would you make?

It would be ... oh, now I started thinking about Tan [France]. Tan taught me how to make these incredible cowboy cookies. They have a little bit of dark chocolate and crystallized ginger and a little bit of cardamom.

He named them cowboy cookies after his husband, but I'm not sure how they relate to being a cowboy. Anyway, they have ginger, cardamom, and dark chocolate, which is really good, and some oats. I love oats in a cookie because they stay chewy longer. When you have a cookie without [oats], they tend to dry up a little more quickly. I love the texture of rolled oats.

Who is the easiest "Queer Eye" cast member to cook for?

Oh, that's a good question ... Bobby [Berk].

Why is that?

Bobby doesn't have food hang-ups. He's very open-minded to trying anything, and he is not a picky eater.

That's good then — he'll be open to anything you cook.

Yeah. Karamo [Brown] doesn't like health, so if it's healthy, he's usually not into it. Tan has some allergies. JVN [Johnathan Van Ness] is deeply triggered by cilantro and cardamom pods. I had butter chicken with him once, and when he bit on a pod, it was mayhem.

That's so interesting. Yes, cilantro's controversial.

It is. You either love it or you hate it. I've never met anybody who's like, "Eh, it's fine."

Porowski gives his best cooking hacks and chocolate dessert

I know you're more into cooking, but what is your favorite sweet addition to a savory recipe?

I actually use honey a lot in my vinaigrettes. I've even added it to my sauces. When I make my turkey meatballs with chili flakes, I like to add a little bit of honey for sweetness. Sometimes, if I do my own hot honey mix, for the last three minutes — if I'm roasting meatballs, not if I'm putting them in a pan, because then they'll burn too quickly ...

But a tiny little drizzle from a very small spout of hot honey adds a nice sweetness, and then [I add] a little bit of flake salt. You get the sweet and salty that hits your lips when you take that first bite out of that meatball.

That sounds good. Speaking of sweets, what is your favorite chocolate dessert? If you don't like chocolate, we could expand it to any dessert.

Do I have a beating heart? Of course, I love chocolate. I was about to say a molten lava cake, but that feels a little too retro. It's very simple — graham crust, a thin layer of dulce de leche, so you have the caramel fix, and a chocolate custard or a chocolate mousse. On top, a nice torched meringue. My favorite crust is a graham crust, because it's sandy like shortbread, and I love the texture of that.

Do you have any tips on how you would make that?

Let's see — crush some graham crackers, pound them into the bottom of a baking dish. Get a recipe for ... Actually, literally, call your local bookstore and get a copy of "Antoni in the Kitchen." It's Jim's Pi pie! I was describing my most favorite pie, and I was like, "Why do I love it so much?" No, it's literally in a book, and it's an incredible pie.

"Easy-Bake Battle: The Home Cooking Competition" is out on Netflix on October 12. Keep up with Antoni Porowski's Instagram page for his latest recipes and projects.

This interview was edited for clarity.