If there's one thing that made the 2020 lockdown easier, it was being babysat by feel-good television. The Great British Baking ShowGardener's World with Monty Don, and of course, Queer Eye, were my TV heroin, letting me sink into my couch and think for just a moment that everything was gonna be OK. So imagine my joy when my wife DMed me a post from Hudson, NY's Talbott and Arding, sharing that the one and only Antoni Porowski, Queer Eye's resident food expert and easy-crier, was coming to town. But was he as nice as he seems on TV?

Kara Chadbourne
Kara Chadbourne
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Antoni in Hudson

This wasn't just a pitstop on a random upstate road trip. Antoni and his puppy Neon had a very important reason to stop by the store that calls itself "the Hudson Valley's premier culinary destination": he wrote a book. Let's Do Dinner is described as "an invitation into Antoni’s easy kitchen. Dinner with Antoni means satisfying meals full of clean protein and loads of vegetables, with splurges of carbs and decadence." And the employees at Talbott and Arding we more than ready for him. From Kara Chadbourne:

As fans both of Antoni's books and of his work on Queer Eye, it meant a great deal to our business to welcome him for this event. Before the signing, we invited Antoni on a tour of our kitchens, where our team had prepared several dishes from Let's Do Dinner for guests to bring home to enjoy later that day!

Kara Chadbourne
Kara Chadbourne
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The Bigger the Star, the Nicer They Are?

That all sounds well and good, but my big question was about his personality. Anyone can turn it on for the camera, but what about in real life? They say "don't meet your heroes", and usually for good reason. So was Antoni as nice in real life as he is on Queer Eye? Again, Kara fills us in:

Antoni was absolutely charming, kind, down-to-earth, and quick to connect with each and every guest that came to meet him. He took time to personalize each visit, which was lovely. His appreciation of food was so evident and engaging: as he took time to visit with our staff after the signing.

Kara Chadbourne
Kara Chadbourne
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Putting the Hudson Valley on the Map

With the constant news of businesses struggling to hire, or even stay open, it always makes me happy to hear about Hudson Valley stores and restaurants finding creative and successful ways to make a splash. As a hybrid store and kitchen, Talbott and Arding understands this more than most:

These past few years have been so tough, universally. The human outreach and kindness that is the driving force behind Queer Eye means more now than ever, and the combination of great food and great community that Antoni's work celebrates is the very same combination that drives our business' mission. Our community was so excited to welcome Antoni and Neon to Hudson, and it means so much to have created a space that hosts such uplifting, community-minded events.

So what's next for Antoni? If he's anything like half the celebrities that have been spotted in the Hudson Valley, he'll start looking for an upstate house ASAP. If that's the case, I know the perfect place for him. Check it out below! And keep scrolling to check out the castle for sale in Kingston with an actual secret tunnel...

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