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Somebody Feed Phil: 11 Behind-The-Scenes Facts You Probably Never Knew

Phil Rosenthal smiling with microphone
Phil Rosenthal smiling with microphone - Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Season 7 of Phil Rosenthal's hit show "Somebody Feed Phil" is headed towards Netflix, which means there's never been a better time to explore facts about the series even die-hard fans might not know. All six seasons of the show are currently available to stream, and each is packed with stunning locations, moving moments, and delicious food. But "Somebody Feed Phil" is about more than just tasty food and dream destinations. It's rooted in Phil's incredible enthusiasm for food, travel, and the people he meets. These are the things that ensure the show is a hit with fans. We challenge you to not get swept up in Phil's childlike wonder at the amazing towns, cities, and countries he visits -- and the mouth-watering dishes he samples.

In preparation for the new season -- or before you start binging any seasons you've yet to catch up on -- we present 10 behind-the-scenes facts you probably never knew about "Somebody Feed Phil." Let's dive in!

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The Theme Song Was All Phil's Idea

Lake Street Dive performing theme
Lake Street Dive performing theme - Facebook / Phil Rosenthal

As soon as you start watching "Somebody Feed Phil," one thing stands out: that catchy theme song. If you think it sounds like it's straight out of a sitcom, you're not far off -- Phil does happen to be the creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond." Not many shows have themes that prove to be as much of an earworm as this one (seriously, we've been singing it in the shower for weeks after binging the show on Netflix). It turns out that this theme is all down to Phil himself. In a 2019 interview with Deadline, Phil revealed that when Netflix asked him what he'd like to do that he hadn't done on his previous PBS show, he said he wanted a theme song.

Happily, Netflix gave him the go-ahead. Thus, Phil worked with his friends at Lake Street Dive on the song, which received an Emmy nomination. Sing along with us, "A happy hungry man/Is traveling all across the sea and the land/He's trying to understand/The art of pasta pork chicken and lamb..." We told you it was an earworm!

This Isn't Phil's First Foray Into The World Of Television

Phil Rosenthal eating in Tokyo
Phil Rosenthal eating in Tokyo - PBS /YouTube

Prior to "Somebody Feed Phil," Rosenthal had another show on PBS. "I'll Have What Phil's Having" ran for six episodes in 2015. It won multiple awards, including the 2016 James Beard Award for best television program on location. Yet even before that, Phil was no stranger to the world of TV: He was the creator and showrunner of the hit '90s sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond." The show ran on CBS from September 13, 1996 to May 16, 2005. That's an impressive nine seasons and 210 episodes. As it turns out, the show's star, Ray Romano, would go on to inspire Phil to host his own food and travel show — and thus, "Somebody Feed Phil" was born.

If you've never seen "Everybody Loves Raymond" and want to engage with it for the sake of becoming a more well-rounded "Somebody Feed Phil" fan, start with the special two-part episode set in Italy. This episode got Phil on track to make a food show that focuses on travel and the connections you make with others.

The Show Was Inspired By Ray Romano

Ray Romano in Italy
Ray Romano in Italy - CBS

Phil revealed a particularly interesting fact in a CBS News interview: "Somebody Feed Phil" was inspired by Ray Romano. Back in his "Everybody Loves Raymond" days, Phil decided to film a two-part special in Italy. But Romano didn't like the idea of leaving the Jersey Shore, let alone traveling overseas. This reluctance to travel abroad became part of the story: In those episodes, Ray the character expresses deep disinterest in going abroad.

When Romano arrived in Italy, however, Phil saw the actor fall hard for the country. Romano simply couldn't resist Italian culture, the warmth of the people, immense history, colorful traditions, and, of course, the pizza and pasta. This became Ray the character's arc, making for some very memorable episodes. Moreover, it was this experience of watching Romano fall in love with Italy that inspired Phil to create a food and travel show. He wanted to encourage people to fall in love with other places, cultures, and food -- and now, he can safely say he's done just that. Just think: If all this hadn't happened back in the year 2000, we might not be watching "Somebody Feed Phil" today.

Phil Often Scours LA For The Best Khao Soi

A bowl of khao soi
A bowl of khao soi - Teerapong mahawan/Shutterstock

One of the best things about watching "Somebody Feed Phil" is watching Phil's face light up with joy as he sinks his teeth into something delicious he's never tried before. A stand-out example is the moment that comes when he's in Thailand's Chiang Mai. Phil has a bowl of khao soi, a coconut curry-based soup with fresh hand-pulled noodles. It costs him a dollar and it blows his mind.

This dish has always been available in Los Angeles' Thai restaurants -- where it's also more expensive -- but Phil had never thought to order it until his trip to Thailand. Ever since, Phil's made it his mission to hunt down the best khao soi in town. And really, that's the whole point of the show: It's all about trying new things and opening viewers' eyes to new destinations and food they've never before considered. Phil's no exception; we see him trying new and delicious dishes in every episode, from street food to home-cooked dinners with locals. Sometimes, as with khao soi, it makes a major impression.

You Can Catch Scenes That Didn't Make The Cut On Phil's YouTube Channel

Phil Rosenthal eats a sandwich
Phil Rosenthal eats a sandwich - YouTube / Phil Rosenthal World

If you've binged every episode of "Somebody Feed Phil" but are still hungry for more, we've got something to keep you busy until Season 7 drops on Netflix. Unseen scenes from the show can be found on Phil's YouTube channel. Said channel, Phil Rosenthal World, even hosts "Phil's Finds," a delightful short-form series in which the titular connoisseur chats about his favorite restaurants.

That's not where the delights on this channel end. Witness #IWantToFeedPhil, a contest which saw winners get the opportunity to feed Phil themselves. He had some pretty tasty times, traveling the length and breadth of the country to visit these lucky few and enjoy dinner in their company. This channel also hosts new season announcements, interviews with Phil, clips from "Somebody Feed Phil," and shorts featuring Phil with friends and family. Essentially, everything a Phil fan could ever hope for is right there on Phil Rosenthal World.

Phil Really Does Love Every Dish He Tries On The Show

Phil loves his burger
Phil loves his burger - Netflix / YouTube

Unlike some other food shows, where we see presenters pretend to like absolutely everything they eat, there's no pretense on "Somebody Feed Phil." It's one of the reasons why the guy is so darn likable -- he's genuine, excitable, and passionate about food, and that passion is contagious. Every single thing Phil eats on the show is something he's truly enjoying. But surely, you might be thinking, he doesn't enjoy every single dish he comes across. How could he?

If fact, he does. Phil revealed in an interview with Bustle that if he eats something he doesn't like, it doesn't make it into the final cut of the show. This makes watching "Somebody Feed Phil" all the most affecting -- you can take it in with the confidence of knowing you're seeing someone have a genuinely great time. The fact that he's pretty adventurous with what he'll try makes this even more impressive.

There Are Some Things Phil Won't Eat

Cooked iguana in bowl
Cooked iguana in bowl - Netflix

Though Phil loves every dish we see him eat on the show, there are some foods he won't consume. In an interview with The Wrap, Phil confessed he'll never be the kind of host to eat an eyeball. "Certain intestines, certain guts ... I'm never gonna be that guy," he remarked.

Ardent fans are already well-acquainted with this fact. Who can forget Episode 1 of Season 5, when Phil visits Oaxaca? He turns down a crispy-looking iguana-based dish and a bowl of beetles -- though he does get down some worm salad. Worms aren't an unusual food in many countries; dishes like smoked chontacuros, or tree worms, are popular in Amazonian cuisine. When fried, they even taste like crispy pork skin.

This isn't the end of Phil's out-there eating. In Season 3, Episode 4, Phil heads for Seoul to try sannakji, or octopus. That's pretty adventurous, as this popular octopus dish can be dangerous. Diners must chew vigorously and quickly -- it's not unheard of for people to die after the octopus sticks to their throat on the way down. The fact that Phil will try something like this but not certain other dishes makes watching the show a constant adventure.

The Theme Of The Show Isn't Food

Phil Rosenthal holding lobster rolls
Phil Rosenthal holding lobster rolls - Netflix

"Somebody Feed Phil" is a food show, right? No? Okay, so it's a travel show, then? Wait -- it's neither? It's true. In a 2022 Bustle interview, Phil himself confirmed that the real theme of the show is human connection -- specifically, the type of connection that's only possible when you travel and experience different countries, cultures, and people.

Phil uses his goofy sense of humor -- recall the video call joke segments featuring his friends, in honor of his late dad --  and food to connect with viewers. This results in beautiful moment of real human feeling. Plus, his over-exuberant, wide-eyed enthusiasm for everywhere he goes, everyone he meets, and everything he eats is impossible to resist. That's not acting, either; he may be the most genuinely enthusiastic man on TV.

The Somebody Feed Phil Crew Is Remarkably Small

Somebody Feed Phil crew outdoors
Somebody Feed Phil crew outdoors - Netflix

Some shows have crews of dozens or even hundreds, but not "Somebody Feed Phil." Its crew consists of around 10 people. This brings a real family vibe to it -- especially since it includes Phil's brother, Richard, who's the producer.

The show brings a small team from the US, including director John Bedolis and two or three camera operators, along for its adventures. Much of the crew previously worked with Anthony Bourdain, so they're no strangers to the world of food and travel. "Somebody Feed Phil" always has a local element as well; the show hires a few experts on location to help show them around Singapore's hawker markets, Croatia's bakeries, and a variety of other fascinating places.

Of course, there are also the locals. Phil's busy accepting dinner, lunch, brunch, and BBQ invites left, right, and center on every episode. From red beans and rice with a NOLA family to a backstage pass to Bjorn Shen's Artichoke in Singapore, Phil never goes hungry.

Phil Loves To Feed Crew Members

Phil and crew member eating
Phil and crew member eating - Netflix

"Somebody Feed Phil" isn't a totally accurate title -- he doesn't keep all that delicious food for himself. Delicious meals are better shared; thus, most episodes feature Phil sharing everything he tries with the lucky crew. He rarely eats the entire portion of anything he's given, in fact.

The series is littered with examples. In Season 6, Episode 2, he shares some Croatian gelato with one of the show's local fixers, Angela, who enjoys the lemon basil and hazelnut flavors. When he's not dining with the crew, he's dishing up delights to locals, like the fluffy pita in Israeli restaurant Shaya featured in Season 1, Episode 5. Sometimes he even shares with other foodies; Phil chows down with local expert K.F. Seetoh in Season 4, Episode 3's visit to a hawker market.

It might look like Phil and his friends consume a whole lot of food in every episode -- too much for any group to eat, even. But remember: That's a week's worth of filming condensed into a 45-50 minute show. Sounds like working on "Somebody Feed Phil" is a dream job for the crew.

Phil Has His Own Favorite Food Spots

Howlin' Rays fried chicken sandwich
Howlin' Rays fried chicken sandwich - NathanNoonan/Facebook

Every foodie has their own favorite spots. When asked in a Deadline interview if there were any food discoveries he wanted to share with the world, Phil waxed lyrical about the plant-based burgers at Monty's. He went on to say, "Even the shakes are plant-based; it's a completely vegan restaurant, and if I didn't tell you, you would not know. In addition to being delicious, [fake meat] might also save the world." Sounds like reason enough for a Monty's visit to us.

Phil also loves the fried chicken sandwich at Howlin' Rays hot chicken restaurant in Los Angeles, telling The L.A. Times, " This is the best fried chicken sandwich I've ever had. I think it's in the running for best sandwich I've ever had."

Since Phil's an L.A. native these days, it's no surprise that it's also the location of his favorite Indian restaurant. Tumbi in Santa Monica, which is just a block from the bustling promenade, is listed in the Michelin Guide, so Phil's in good company. He's also a regular at Middle Eastern hotspot Bavel, in the heart of the Art District.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.