Queer Eye’s resident food expert talks filming season five in Philly and everything he loves about the city (including Fishtown and cheesesteaks.)

By Bridget Hallinan
June 26, 2019
Courtesy of Saeco.

In case you missed it, the world got a little brighter last week when Netflix announced that Queer Eye had been renewed for a fourth and fifth season. After falling in love with season three heroes like Deborah “Little” and Mary “Shorty” Jones (aka the delightful sisters behind Jones Bar-B-Q) earlier this year, fans will find that season four, which premieres on July 19, returns to Kansas City for eight more episodes. There’s also a special four-episode mini season filmed in Japan to look forward to; season five, on the other hand, is heading to Philadelphia and will air in 2020. We recently caught up with Antoni Porowski, the show’s resident food and wine expert, and asked him what he’s looking forward to when the Fab Five heads northeast to film the Philadelphia season. In short? Everything—but he did call out a few specific things along the way.

The chef and TV personality says he hasn’t spent too much time in Philadelphia, and tends to stay in New York when he’s not traveling. He plans on going there before filming starts to do as “much research as he possibly can”—but from what he knows so far, he’s very excited about exploring the diverse food scene. 

“There’s a very diverse food space, there’s a lot of multiculturalism in Philly, which is always really exciting to me because it just gives me more options,” Porowski told me. “The immigrant story is obviously very important to me, being one myself, but also appreciating foods from all these different countries. And the opportunity to tell those stories, I immediately jump on [it].”

Porowski, who’s partnering with Saeco to celebrate its new Xelsis espresso machine (launched at the end of 2018), also gave a nod to La Colombe, the Philly-based coffee roaster that made our list of the best coffee bars in America. (They gave us the world’s first (frothy!) draft-canned lattes.) The Fishtown La Colombe location is his favorite establishment in the city; his go-to order is an iced oat milk latte, but he also likes to brew their coffee at home. “They roast the beans there, and they have a wonderful pastry program,” he says. “There’s always an insane line outside, I just love the vibe there. Fishtown is a really exciting part of Philly, it feels a little Williamsburg-y, borderline Bushwick.”

Currently, there are five La Colombe locations open in Philadelphia, with additional outposts in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Beverly Hills, with future expansion plans in place, according to the website.

And, of course, you can’t visit Philly without ordering a cheesesteak—if you’re looking for a recommendation, born-and-raised Philadelphian Questlove gave us his top five picks. (Tony Luke’s is “#1. #1. #1," if you ask him.) Porowski also loves the city’s signature cheesy sandwich, and described his ideal version to us.

“I will pick whatever the American processed cheese is over the Swiss,” he says. “It’s always things that I wasn’t allowed to have as a kid, that now, as an adult I want to have. Those American cheese slices—the processed, bright, unnaturally orange cheese, I always kind of gravitate towards that. Thinly shaved steak over a nice warm bun, and lots of fried onions or caramelized onions, super important. In Montreal, we have a tradition of smoked meat, which is kind of like our version of it, and I think medium fat is always my favorite. I don’t like it lean because there’s no flavor, and when it's full-fat, sometimes it gets a little too much. So I like some nice beef fat in there.” 

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