“Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal has perhaps become even better known these days as a foodie and the host of Netflix’s “Somebody Feed Phil.” In the series, which returns next month with a second batch of episodes, Rosenthal travels the world and interacts with chefs, family, friends and celebrities as they explore good things to eat.
Rosenthal often jokes that his pitch for “Somebody Feed Phil” (and before that, his PBS series “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having”) was, “I’m exactly like Anthony Bourdain, if he was afraid of everything.” Bourdain was clearly an inspiration for Rosenthal, which is why his death, announced Friday morning, stung.
Rosenthal, in Austin for the ATX Television Festival, took the stage on Friday morning at a screening and panel for “Somebody Feed Phil.” But before rolling tape, Rosenthal said a few words about Bourdain:
“I was shocked and saddened this morning, I’m still very sad but I want you to know what an inspiration he was to me and probably all of you. Anyone who travels, anyone who eats. He evolved from a chef and a food traveler to a world-class journalist. My little joke that I make whenever I talk about my show is that the way I sold the show to Netflix is ‘I’m exactly like Anthony Bourdain, if he was afraid of everything.’ And so my show, of course, is a take on his type of show. Just to say that means he invented an entire genre. I want to dedicate my whole series to him. Life is about travel, and beauty in life, the love we find, the joy we have the laughs we have together. That’s what I’m dedicating the rest of my life to.”
Rosenthal also told IndieWire that he was in awe of Bourdain’s talents, including his TV shows, books and more. “I’m not nearly in his league. This is a great writer, chef, a real thinker, a real adventurer. To me he was a superhero. I sit on the couch and watch him and go, ‘he’s amazing. I’m not ever going to do that.’ I saw him get a chest tattoo in Borneo. What is happening? He was an amazing man, really truly one of a kind.”
Earlier, on Twitter, Rosenthal also paid tribute: “I’ve just woken to the tragic news about Anthony Bourdain. I always considered him a superhero, and a direct inspiration. In his groundbreaking shows, he embodied the spirit of travel, adventure, and strove to make the world a true community. RIP.”
“Somebody Feed Phil: The Second Course” returns to Netflix on July 6, and follows Rosenthal as he tours Venice, Dublin, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Capetown and New York. The first cycle of the show is already streaming and includes Rosenthal visiting Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Saigon, Mexico City, New Orleans and Bangkok.