Latin Music Week

'Queer Eye' Star Antoni Shares How He'll Soundtrack His New West Village Eatery

Jenny Regan
Antoni Porowski

Growing up, Antoni Porowski would watch the PBS show Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home on Saturday mornings instead of cartoons. He loved how the two would have fun with food, “[they taught me] it doesn’t have to be this pretentious, stuffy thing,” and says he was immediately inspired.

Now, Porowski, 30, is known as the food and wine expert on Netflix’s Queer Eye, but he’s also something of a music authority. The Canadian personality, who’s filming the show’s third season in Kansas City, Mo., displays his love of bands like The Strokes and The National onscreen by wearing their tees. As for what he's into currently? Everything from newcomers like LANY and lovelytheband, to Childish GambinoRobyn and Troye Sivan.

Ahead of opening his health-conscious, comfort-food-inspired eatery, Village Den, this month in his adopted home of New York, Porowski's passion for music helped him curate a special soundtrack. He explains how to set the right mood with music.

RESPECT YOUR CITY

“My first waitering job was at a restaurant opened by chef Chuck Hughes -- he’s a huge punk-rock fan. They always played a lot of Wolf Parade, Kasabian, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It was this badass experience. I want to do that in our own, very New York-focused way. I definitely want to have Blondie [on the playlist]; The Strokes, whom I love so much; The National.”

FOSTER COMMUNITY

“Sometimes you want to listen to Joni Mitchell on a rainy day when you’re sitting and having a meatloaf with a ketchup-brown mustard crust. But I don’t want the music we play to be too much of one thing, like the way that our menu isn't kept too paleo, vegan, pescatarian. It’s for everyone.”

TAP INTO NOSTALGIA

“I remember exactly where I was when I first heard ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ by Oasis -- at my family’s Polish camp as a kid, and I was crying. Music creates this all-encompassing experience that is just as important as food. It has to be loud enough for people to hear and remember the songs, but not be overwhelming.”

DON’T COME IN TOO HOT

“We have a surround speaker system, but I don’t want it to be massive, woofer-heavy bass. I want the music to be something that hits you the way that, for example, an Aleppo pepper does, where it’s not super intense, but it’s part of the whole flavor profile.”    

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 15 issue of Billboard.