Photo: Courtesy of WGBH
"I'll Have What Phil's Having"
Premieres Monday, September 28 at 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS
Journey with Phil Rosenthal, creator of the TV hit “Everybody Loves Raymond,” as he learns from the chefs, vendors, culinary leaders and style-setters who keep their communities’ traditions alive and create new ones.
In I'll Have What Phil's Having, Rosenthal sets his sights on kitchens both on and off the well-worn gastronomic path, where he meets those who are keeping traditions alive and creating new ones. Viewers will travel with him from Hong Kong to Barcelona, from Paris to Tokyo, and from a three-star Michelin restaurant in an Italian palazzo to a Los Angeles bakery training former gang members.
Rosenthal is a food enthusiast, but as he was growing up, he was not exposed to any adventurous eating. Rosenthal says, "My mother was not a fantastic cook. Our oven had a setting for 'shoe.'" He continues, "I have always been interested in family, food, travel and of course, humor. The true essence of it all is to connect with others. If a guy like me can try other foods and travel to other lands, then maybe others will be inspired to do it too, even in their own city."
In each hour-long episode, the unscripted series brings Rosenthal to a different location, where he embarks on new adventures, visiting artisans, markets, vineyards, and farmers, trying the special culinary treats and unusual ingredients each community has to offer.
Rosenthal also learns tricks of the trade from food authorities like David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris and Nancy Silverton, the 2014 winner of the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Chef Award. His Los Angeles guests, including Allison Janney, Ray Romano, Martin Short and Larry Wilmore, share in Rosenthal's discoveries while trying some food for the first time.
"We hope Phil's quirky, adventurous spirit will inspire audiences to have their own culinary discoveries, big or small," says Laurie Donnelly, WGBH Executive Producer of the series, "and to say, 'I'll have what Phil's having!'"
Phil ventures into Tokyo, the biggest city on the planet, in search of the most delicious ramen, the sushi of his dreams, and anything else that makes Tokyo a global culinary capital. On sensory overload, Phil dials down with TV host and comedian David Spector who takes him to Memory Lane, a tiny alley, to sample the skull and bones of barbequed eel. Phil also visits Narisawa, one of the city's top restaurants, where he encounters a dish that talks back to him -- "Forest Floor," with a live audio feed from the forest. The episode culminates with a cultural exchange when Phil serves up New York egg creams for his guests.
Phil revisits this food mecca, recalling his own memorable culinary moments. Traveling from Florence into lush countryside, Phil drops in at Faliero, a truck stop/sandwich shop that specializes in Torta el testo, a half-bread, half-pizza concoction, where he is put to work wrestling dough. He feasts on a home-cooked meal at chef Nancy Silverton's Umbrian home. Dario Cecchini, "the maestro of meat" and one of the world's most famous butchers, indulges Phil's inner caveman: they roast gargantuan steaks over hot flames, then serve them up "barbarian style."
Paris may be known as "The City of Lights," but to Phil, it's "The City of Sweets." His stops include Les Deux Magots for some of Paris' finest hot chocolate. Author, blogger and pastry chef David Lebovitz introduces Phil to football-sized croissants, along with vanilla bombs that take his breath away. Phil meets up with Alain Passard, renowned chef at the Paris favorite, L'Arpège for vegetable-centric dishes harvested daily and goes in search of Paris' best roast chicken.
Hong Kong (104)
Phil travels to Hong Kong, the gateway to Asia. A newcomer to this Pacific metropolis, he tries making - and eating - traditional dim sum at the least expensive Michelin-starred restaurant in the city. He steps out of his comfort zone at Megan's Kitchen, famous for its hot pot and a classic dish of century-old eggs. Phil visits Medicine Street, for medical help in the form of a powdered tea. He also stops by Lock Cha Tea House to visit tea master Mister Ip. The trip is capped off at San Xi Lou where spicy Sichuan food puts Phil's palate to the test.
Phil discovers that Barcelona is not only the city where no one ever sleeps - they also always eat. His journey includes a morning visit to the Boqueria where chef Pablo Albuerne treats him to a world-class breakfast - foie gras and eggs - at the famous El Quim stand. Phil initiates his own tapas crawl, visiting two of Barcelona's best tapas bars with Master Chef Spain finalist Emil Samper. Phil ends up at chef Albert Adrià's vermouth bar, Bodega 1900. He also travels to Vila Viniteca for a lesson in all things jamón - Spain's most prized culinary export. Phil tries his hand at slicing the jamón, but finds that most of the samples end up in his mouth.
Los Angeles (106)
Phil brings his L.A. buddies to some of his favorite spots: a trip with actor Ray Romano to the city's oldest farmers' market for Mexican breakfast at Loteria; a visit with comedian Martin Short to Korean-American chef Roy Choi's restaurant, Commissary; and a taste sampler at the historical Grand Central Market with actress Allison Janney. Phil also checks out the local taco-truck scene with street-food guru Bill Esparza and comedian Larry Wilmore. And proving that there is great deli outside of New York City, Phil brings TV producer Norman Lear and actor Paul Reiser to Langer's Deli for the ultimate pastrami sandwich.