Phil Rosenthal and Ray Romano’s Recipe That Became “Somebody Feed Phil”

Phil Rosenthal and Ray Romano's Recipe That Became "Somebody Feed Phil"

Phil Rosenthal has one of the best jobs in the world: As the creator and star of the hit Netflix series, “Somebody Feed Phil,” Rosenthal travels almost everywhere and eats just about anything. “We’re going to amazing places on Earth and I’m trying to get you there by showing you the best places to eat,” Rosenthal told CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.

“There’s nothing more mind-blowing we can do than travel,” he said. “It literally changes your way of thinking. It changes your perspective.”

Somebody Feed Phil (Season 4) | Official trailer | Netflix by means of
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Rosenthal’s boyfriend, actor Ray Romano, praised his friend: “Wherever I am in the world, when it’s time to go out to dinner with my wife and we don’t know where, I text Phil.”

The two met in 1996 when Rosenthal created, wrote and executive produced the production of “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Romano said: “They got me from New York and had ten meetings with potential showrunners. And let’s tell the true story: you were the second. But the first turned down! So I went with Phil.”

“Yeah, isn’t that nice?” Rosenthal laughed.

The show ran for nine seasons on CBS, which is how the idea for Rosenthal’s current travel show began 25 years ago, while they were making the sitcom.

Rosenthal recalled: “I can honestly say it’s his fault. I asked him, ‘What are you going to do during your break’, that break between season one and season two? And remember?”

“The Jersey shore, as we always do,” Romano said.

“Right, right! And I said, ‘Oh that’s nice. Have you ever been to Europe?’ And he said, ‘No.’ And I said, ‘Why not?'”

“I said, ‘I’m not interested in other places,'” Romano laughed.

Art imitated life. Rosenthal said, “A light bulb went out. We have to do that episode. We have to do that episode where we send him with that attitude.”

Phil Rosenthal, star of “Somebody Feed Phil”, and actor Ray Romano.

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Rosenthal wrote two episodes that explored Romano’s lack of desire to travel beyond his beloved Jersey shore, and explored his eventual transformation.

Raymond first sees a beautiful flower stall, and then, walking alone, bumps into two children who are kicking a soccer ball. “Comes my way, and I kind of give it back to them, and then they really engage me to play with them. Kick it around with them,” Romano said.

For Rosenthal, “It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done on the show.”

And finally, Raymond buys a slice of real Italian pizza.

Ray: “This is the best pizza I’ve ever had, man!”
Salesperson: “Do you want more?”
Ray: “Yeah, I want more!”

Everyone Loves Raymond – Italy by means of
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“I love it so much,” Rosenthal said. “It’s everything I love about travel, how you literally change your mind.”

LaPook asked, “We know what happened in the episode, but what happened in real life?”

Romano said: “We stayed in Italy and we flew to Sicily to visit my wife’s birthplace. So we spent a week in this small mountainside village. The things we did in that episode I lived in real life We were in such a big car They fed us from the food they grew You know it’s just seeing goodness from people who don’t look like you sound like you You know there’s a common denominator that you realize that people are good everywhere.”

“So I see this happen to him,” Rosenthal said, “and I think, what if I could do this for other people?”

Sticking with the idea, Rosenthal started his travel and food show in 2018. He says he never asks to taste anything before filming: “No, I just jump in like an idiot. And when something is great, yes, I share it with everyone. It’s also the secret to why I’m not 400lbs. It’s because I taste everything, I don’t finish anything. Share everything.”

He is especially fond of a chef he met in Thailand. “It’s a Michelin-starred shack. Unbelievable! A crab omelette. There’s such a thing as a pound, a pound and a half of freshly shelled crab. It’s probably the most expensive street food in the world. I think it costs fifty bucks for this omelet. and it’s so damn tasty. You never see it in America because it would be priceless, it would be two to three hundred dollars here.”

Rosenthal just finished a book published by Simon & Schuster (part of the Paramount family) to document his travels and the best recipes he discovered.

Simon & Schuster

He said: “It’s these artisans, these artisans that are so caring and proud. It’s their national heritage, their personal family history that is in every bite of the food you get. And I swear to you, you can taste it .”

As for Romano, since “Everybody Loves Raymond,” he has continued to act in comedies and dramas, including Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”

And he’s just finished directing and starring in a dramedy called “Somewhere in Queens,” which he also co-wrote, again based on memories of his family. “Are they yelling? Are they yelling? And are they loud? Yes. There’s that love underneath. You can’t deny it. There’s a bond that can’t be broken.”

… Which also perfectly describes Ray Romano’s bond with Phil Rosenthal.

“It’s kind of humble that I’m going out to dinner with him now,” Romano said. “And when people come and talk for an autograph, it’s now for this man.”

“Freak!” Rosenthal laughed.

READ AN EXCERPT: “Somebody is feeding Phil the book”

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Story produced by Jay Kernis. Editor: George Pozderec.