Barbecue Memories on Queer Eye
“Food is love”, Antoni
This is from the opening sequence of the third series of Queer Eye, as the fab five state their core beliefs that inform the way that they help the show’s participants - the “heroes”. The fab five bring their talent and sparkle into the heroes lives for one week, rejuvenating their routines from the bathroom to the kitchen.
Antoni is the food guy. A former chef, he connects with the hero in their kitchen. He provides a kind of kitchen therapy by talking through their cooking and eating habits. The struggles of each participant are familiar to most of us, no time to cook, meals eaten on the go, no family time at the kitchen table, the hassle of cooking for one. Antoni teaches them a couple of recipes and some basic cooking skills. It’s nothing revolutionary, but through this charm and compassion he introduces them to how their life could be enriched by self-care through cooking.
His teaching in every episode is that cooking and eating together is how we connect with loved ones. When we stop doing this, we lose out on creating memories, traditions and routines that form the backbone of family life. In ‘Elrod & Sons’ he helps a grieving single father to establish new cooking routines with his two young sons. Antoni is about cooking for the long-term goals, creating family memories that kids will look back on with nostalgia.
“I don’t remember when my parents would put something in the microwave and reheat it, but I do remember my father grilling a steak on the barbecue.”
It’s not about cooking fancy dishes, just about taking some time to put a simple dish together. What is heart-warming and inspiring about the show is that the fab five are not judgey or unkind, they meet the participants where they’re at, while showing them how to elevate their lives in big and small ways.