Somebody Feed Phil the Book

The ultimate collection of must-have recipes, stories, and behind-the-scenes photos from the beloved Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil.

Phil Rosenthal, host of the beloved Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil, really loves food and learning about global cultures, and he makes sure to bring that passion to every episode of the show. Whether he’s travelling stateside to foodie-favorite cities such as San Francisco or New Orleans or around the world to locations like Saigon, Tel Aviv, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, or Marrakesh, Rosenthal includes a healthy dose of humor to every episode—and now to this book.

In Somebody Feed Phil the Book, Rosenthal presents never-before-heard stories from every episode of the first four seasons of the series, along with more than sixty of viewers’ most requested recipes from acclaimed international chefs and local legends alike (including Rosenthal’​s favorite sandwich finds from San Francisco to Tel Aviv), so you can replicate many of the dishes from the show right at home. There are also “scripts” from some of Rosenthal’s video phone calls from the road with his family making this the ultimate companion guide for avid fans of the show as well as armchair travellers and adventurous at-home chefs.

Rosenthal’s book is described as “the ultimate companion guide for avid fans of the show as well as armchair travelers and adventurous at-home chefs.” 

“The stories, photos, and especially the recipes- our most requested from the best chefs in the world- are all irresistible. In fact, we’re providing a warning: Somebody Feed Phil the Book is only a title. Do not eat, or try to feed Phil, the book,” Rosenthal told The Hollywood Reporter.

Here is an excerpt of Somebody Feed Phil the Book:

How it all started . . .

My parents weren’t exactly adventurous people. When my brother, Richard, and I were young, they moved from a small New York City apartment to Rockland County, New York. Moving to the suburbs was, understandably, all the adventure they needed after the Holocaust. Rockland was a nice, safe place to raise their family. In our neighborhood, every house was built by the same company and looked exactly the same, other than the color of the paint. (One advantage: when you went to a friend’s house, you didn’t have to ask where the bathroom was.)

Delicious meals and travel were not the priorities in our house. Safety and affordability were. But my parents did buy Time Life Books’ The Great Cities series, twenty-five volumes highlighting incredible places: Athens, Venice, Paris, Istanbul, San Francisco … They intended for Richard and me to use them as a geographic encyclopedia, but to me, the pages were filled with magical places that seemed better than where I was living. And we never went to any of them.

But when I was nine, my parents announced we were going to my cousin’s bar mitzvah. The great thing was this cousin did not live in New York but in a faraway place with a mysterious name that sounded like a lost city: Atlanta. I could not have been more excited. I don’t remember a single thing about the bar mitzvah. What I do remember is not long after we got there, my cousins took Richard and me to a store that was open from seven in the morning until eleven o’clock at night. It looked like a store for astronauts, filled with candy and food in wrappers, and a magical machine like some sort of carnival soft-serve ice cream dispenser. You pulled the handle and out came a Coke, only thanks to cutting-edge science it was transformed into the most amazing thing: a sweet, cold slushy food/drink. I thought, “This place is great! I love Atlanta!” I had two Slurpees a day for the three days we were there, and the idea of trying new foods, and celebrating other cultures, was born.

A few years later, another milestone: My parents said we were going to spend a week at an uncle’s apartment in Miami Beach. (My dad couldn’t say no: the apartment was free.) Miami Beach was okay, but it was hot. We went to the Everglades, where I saw an alligator that just laid there. I could see that at the Bronx Zoo. Fortunately, this was 1972, and as every child knew, a whole new world was upon us: Walt Disney World. It wasn’t even finished yet, but Richard and I begged our parents to stop in Orlando on the way home. They kept saying no, improvising rationales that millions of future parents would later use: it’s too expensive, it’s too far away, the last thing we want to do is wait on line with a whole “world” of screaming kids. But we had a week to wear them down, and we got to go for one whole day. I spent that day running around the Magic Kingdom. It was entirely different from the New York tri-state area, different from Atlanta, different from any place I’d ever been. It was thrilling. I was hooked on travel. This is what Disney is for.

 The first real city I fell in love with abroad was Florence. I ended up there because of my good friend Rob Weiner. After college, we shared an apartment in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Rob is far more cultured than I will ever be and expanded my life by introducing me to a world of art, culture, and travel that people our age could appreciate. I could only contribute one thing: a love of good food. Our birthdays were one week apart, so I thought it would be great if we saved up our money all year to go to a four-star restaurant. The rest of the year we’d live on tuna sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza—anything cheap but also delicious (at the time, we were both struggling to get into theater, working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rob at the front desk and me as a guard, to pay the rent). My parents thought I was out of my mind spending $100 on a single meal at Le Bernardin or Lutece, or wherever else Mimi Sheraton, the New York Times restaurant critic, had deemed worthy of a coveted four stars. They acted like I had a drug habit. Why would you spend money on such a transitory thing? But it was totally worth it to me. It was an entire vacation in one night. Rob and I couldn’t each afford dates, so we would split one girl. But I dreamed of going to the source, to the places in Europe these restaurants were inspired by.

Rob heard about a deal DHL was offering in the early eighties. DHL had a courier program: their cargo would fly as a normal passenger’s excess baggage, in exchange for which they would get a free round-trip ticket to one of their worldwide destinations. Not only was this totally legal, it was phenomenal. Rob and I ended up on Lufthansa flights a day apart to Frankfurt with two whole weeks until we had to get on the return flights. We immediately took a train to Paris, where Rob had a friend with an apartment we could stay in. I got to see the Eiffel Tower. I ate croissants, baguettes, and snails, and even the roast chicken tasted different from any I’d ever had. I thought Paris was fantastic, but then we went to Florence because my mom had said it was the most beautiful place she’d ever been. She was right. Florence was somewhere past heaven. It felt like being inside a painting. As much as I was enthralled by the scenery, I fell in love with the people. On the train from Paris, Rob and I met two Italians, Dania and Dario, who were the same age as us. We instantly bonded and stayed up all night doing what young people do best: drinking and talking. It didn’t matter that Dania only spoke a little English and Dario only spoke Italian. When we got to Italy, we visited the bakery that Dania’s father ran. He insisted we taste all his specialties, then all their friends from around the neighborhood came by with their specialties. A woman came with a bowl of freshly made pasta; another woman came with chocolates. A few years later, I brought my new girlfriend, Monica, there (via DHL) to meet them. And then Dania and Dario came to New York to visit us. They all—Dania and Dario, their baby Ginevra, and their parents—stayed in our one-bedroom apartment. Monica and I are still friends with Dania and Dario. That story is the story of not just our series but my life: how travel and the people you meet change you.

Phil Rosenthal is the creator and host of Somebody Feed Phil, an unscripted documentary series on Netflix, which combines his love of food and travel with his unique brand of humor. Rosenthal was born in Queens, New York, and raised in Rockland County. After graduating from Hofstra University on Long Island, where he majored in theater, he embarked on a career as an actor, writer, and director. In 1996, Rosenthal created the hit CBS comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond. He was the Showrunner/Executive Producer for all nine years of the show’s very successful run, which ended in 2005. Everybody Loves Raymond was nominated for over seventy Emmy awards, and won fifteen awards, including two for Best Comedy Series in 2003 and 2005. In April 2011, Rosenthal wrote, directed, and starred in his first feature film, Exporting Raymond, the true story about the attempt to turn Everybody Loves Raymond into a Russian sitcom, and it was met with critical acclaim. Rosenthal’s first travel food series, I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, premiered on PBS in 2015 and received two Taste Awards as well as the 2016 James Beard Award for Best Television Program, on Location. Rosenthal lives in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Monica Horan (who played Amy on Everybody Loves Raymond) and their two children.