Writer and producer Phil Rosenthal is back with the third season of his globe-trotting food series “Somebody Feed Phil” May 29 on Netflix. In the new season, Rosenthal’s food-tasting adventures take him to Marrakesh, London, Chicago, Montreal and Seoul.
“I start with places that I want to go to or these are places that I love and want to show other people,” he tells Variety.
He filmed the season, which will be split into two parts, well ahead of the coronavirus outbreak, but in the wake of the world-changing pandemic, he feels the show has more relevance than ever.
“What we’re going through now is a terrible tragedy for so many people, but for the rest of us who are lucky enough to not have gotten sick, it’s at the very least an interruption to our lives in a major way. I have no idea whether we’ll get to do more episodes. I have no idea what travel will be like for people like us who love travel. But I do want people to watch the show with a view not with how the world used to be, but with a view that this too shall pass and use this time to watch the show and plan where you’ll go,” he says.
Here, Rosenthal talks about what he takes away from his travels, where he still wants to go and how he’s supporting local Los Angeles restaurants during the pandemic.
How do you map out your season?
We look at whether there’s enough content to make an episode. We’ve done 28 episodes of the show and the next five are coming in October and we still haven’t scratched the surface of the earth — such as India.
Do you stay in touch with all of the great people you meet along the way?
After the first episodes, I started to realize I had met all these great people, and when you have these human beings and friends that you can stay in touch with through text and email, it makes you a citizen of the world. It’s such a gift and makes life so much better. I implore people to travel because of the human connection you’ll make. I truly think the world will be better if we all experience a little bit of someone else’s experience. it enriches your life and gives you a new perspective. Your everyday life is better because of this new perspective.
Was there an episode this season that was personal to you?
The places I go will always be a bit more meaningful to me because I’m getting to show you what I love rather than discovering a new love for myself. Marrakesh was so exotic and wonderful to me. I was going to take my wife Monica there with me in April before all this started, but that’s on hold. I can’t wait to go back because you really feel like you’ve stepped into a movie.
What was your most favorite food discovery this season?
I love to try things. I know the worst thing I can happen is that I won’t like it. As a child, that’s the worst thing: You put something in your mouth and you hate it. As an adult, the worst thing you can say is, “It’s not for me.” Am I going to have live octopus at every meal? No. But I’m glad I tried it. People have no desire to travel. A third of Americans don’t have a passport and I don’t get it. If you won a big house, would you stay in one room of the house?
You’ve experienced a lot of great dishes. What are your cooking tips for everyone making their own meals during quarantine?
I’m not a cook at all. I don’t have the skills or temperament. I’m every cook’s best friend because I love what they do so much. People ask me, “You don’t cook?” and I’ll say, “I meet some of the best chefs in the world and they can’t write a sitcom.” I’m supporting restaurants by ordering because we are in this golden age of takeout. I’ve ordered from Khao Soi Thai, which is takeout only. Sonoratown does some of the best Mexican food I’ve had in my life. Republique has full meals but they do produce boxes. Once every couple of weeks we order from Bestia or Bavel. The quality of the food and the way it’s packed and presented comes out like you are in a great restaurant.