Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski has something tasty cookin’ up in his oven with the upcoming Netflix series Easy-Bake Battle, which puts respect on the name of the culinary apparatus from our childhood.
“I was obsessed with the Easy Bake Oven growing up,” said Porowski in a recent interview with GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos. After constantly watching commercials while watching Saturday morning cartoons with his sister, he finally asked his parents to buy him one when they were at Toys R Us. They “politely declined” and insisted they don’t need another oven in their house.
Porowski continued, “I went with this angst and this repression my whole life and now as an adult, trying to find what my singular voice would be like in the culinary world. I had to relive my youth and finally lean into my love of the Easy Bake Oven and decided to have a show that honors it.”
In Easy-Bake Battle, home chefs compete head-to-head cooking challgenges using only an Easy-Bake-style oven. The chefs compete for $25,000 in each battle and the winner has the chance to win up to $100,000. Porowski is joined by judges from the Netflix culinary family including Iron Chef’s Kristen Kish as well as legendary Jacques Torres of Nailed It!
Porowski, who also seves as an executive producer on Easy-Bake Battle, loves how the show celebrates the unsung heroes known as home cooks. He loves the work home cooks do for their community and families and thinks of himself as a home cook as well.
“As much as I love watching cooking competition shows, at the end of the day we’re all in it together and we’re a lot more similar than we are different,” he said. “We have moments where we put the contestants together and they get to amp each other up and relate. We have an episode with moms about what it’s like to cook for their kids and they get to have a little moment together. So even though it is a little cutthroat, I wanted it to have those moments of heart and the love that was there that I learned was so important on Queer Eye.”
Easy-Bake Battle debuts on Netflix October 12, days before Spirit Day on October 20, the world’s largest and most-visible LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign. Porowski always participates on Spirit Day, and said that it is important to look out for queer youth because they are our future.
“They will be running the world so we have to set them up for success,” he said. “I was just reading an article in the New York Times that said anyone under the age of 65 should have an anxiety test.” He added that he thinks about how the pandemic, social media, and the current political climate impacted young people.
“There are so many things that I won’t say are going against them, but stuff that’s out there doesn’t necessarily feel like it can always be a safe space but I feel like we have a responsibility to give them the best leg up that we possibly can,” he explained. “There is never a single excuse for bullying in any single way, shape, or form. School is where you’re supposed to learn the basics. You’re encouraged to be creative. You’re supposed to find what your voice is; who you are; who you want to be; and we owe it to them to make them feel safe and encourage that however that manifests itself.“