Chef Stuart O'Keeffe attends Logo's "NewNowNext Awards" 2012 at Avalon on April 5, 2012 in Hollywood, California Source: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Claim: Antoni Porowski Wasn't First Choice for 'Queer Eye' – *This* Guy Was

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

Forget the "Queer Eye" drama around Bobby Berk's departure and rumors that a "feud" between him and Tan France might have had something to do with it. There's new tea to be spilled about the show, and it goes back to the reboot's casting, when, according to a claim, someone other than Antoni Porowski was originally slated to serve up culinary advice.

Out Irish chef, television host, and cookbook author Stuart O'Keeffe recounted on the March 13 episode of his podcast "Don't Let It Stu" that when the current version of the show was being put together, there were two entire five-member prospective casts under consideration, Entertainment Weekly relayed.

"So, 'Queer Eye,'" O'Keeffe, 42, said about 12 minutes into the show, after he and guest Zack Peter had discussed the flap around Kate Middleton's posting of an edited family photograph. O'Keeffe offered a précis of the various stories circulating about the show's cast, including that Jonathan Van Ness was a "monster" to work with and departing cast member Bobby Berk left the show because of him.

O'Keeffe recounted that he had auditioned for the show and, he said, "I actually got chosen. I was one of the five."

The chef outlines a casting process in which he "was in one group of five, there was another group of five, which Antoni was in," with the groups evidently vying as whole casts, rather than the 10 total prospects being considered separately – understandable, since the show's appeal lies largely in the chemistry of the ensemble mix.

"They came in," O'Keeffe recounted, and made the announcement to the group he was in that "'You're the Fab Five.' I was like, 'Holy shit!'"

"We all went outside the room, screaming, jumping up and down. I was like, 'Let's get a photograph. This is such a great moment for us all.'"

But the moment was not to last.

"Cut to like a week [later]," O'Keeffe said, at which point the show was a month away from starting production. He became curious about not having received a contract or any information about the shooting schedule, but, he said, he was offered assurances that all was well despite the others having gotten their contracts.

"Cut to we all go to dinner," O'Keeffe said. "Tan doesn't go to dinner with me, [though] the other four do, so I'm like, 'What, why is he not coming to dinner?' So I'm like, 'Something's up. Somebody knows something...'"

O'Keeffe claimed he had to go to "another audition, and meet with the heads of Netflix, and two days later I get pulled out and Antoni gets pulled in."

That wasn't the worst of it, though: O'Keeffe didn't know he wasn't going to be on the show after all until he learned about it "on Instagram... which was really shitty."

Asked if he thought Tan France had been behind the reversal, O'Keeffe said he had heard different stories, and said that "the production company wanted me on the show," since he was a known quantity to them from previous collaborations. O'Keeffe described the company telling him that he would "be perfect for this, you have a cookbook out already... it all ties in perfectly..."

However, he went on to add, he got a call from his agent saying that very same resume of his was a problem for the producers, who saw O'Keeffe as having a higher profile than those of the other cast members at the time, given that he had "a cookbook out and I'd done loads of other shows before, whereas the other four hadn't, and they were like, they kind of wanted everyone on the same level. I was like, 'Okay, that's kind of a lame excuse, but, like, fine, I guess; I guess I'll take it.'"

Another story he heard was that Ted Allen – the cooking guru from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," the predecessor to "Queer Eye" – had demanded that Porowski, a friend and assistant to Allen at the time, be given the role instead.

"There's so much speculation, allegations, that kind of stuff," O'Keeffe said. "We'll never know."

Watch the podcast below.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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