If you love food and travel and you have Netflix, “Somebody Feed Phil” (and its predecessor “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having”) is required television. What makes it different from the vast array of food shows now on Netflix is one thing: Phil.
As the show’s host, Phil Rosenthal travels the world in search of great food and great people to share it with. Tough job. 😉 It’s his sense of humor and desire to make new friends that makes the show special. He’s so relatable, so down to earth, you’d swear he was just one of your neighbors from down the street.
Except he’s not.
He’s a multiple Emmy Award winner for his work on one of the most successful sitcoms in television history, “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which he created, wrote, and executive produced. And now he’s nominated for yet another Emmy Award, this time for “Somebody Feed Phil.” No big thing.
If you haven’t already guessed, my family and I are big fans of the show. So when Phil started a contest asking fans to make a one minute video telling him why he should visit the winner(s) to share a meal, my oldest daughter nagged me to enter. A few days later, I got an idea for the story I wanted to tell in the video and the script just came to me. It took me less than 15 minutes to write, which never happens. Maybe it was meant to be.
Our video told the story of our family (the Mayberrys) and our former neighbors (the Steunenbergs), who have since become so close to us that we practically consider them family. Our mutual love of food and sharing a meal has helped foster that relationship. Once I uploaded it to Instagram, it didn’t take long for Phil to comment on the video. We were thrilled we even got his attention! But that wasn’t the end of it…
On May 1st, he announced that there were six winners, and one of them was us. We couldn’t believe it!
Three months later, we finally got the chance to nosh with Phil and his friend Jeff Strauss (@jeffs___table). Everything Phil was on TV was everything he was in person, only better. He was personable, curious, genuine, and he loved it when the kids got up the nerve to sing the show’s theme song to him. Regardless of his status as a public figure, both he and Jeff seemed to truly enjoy our company and the conversation, and the feeling was mutual. By the end of the night, we’d realized that our time together was no longer a contest prize, it was a dinner among friends.
Only time will tell if we will ever have the pleasure of breaking bread with Phil or Jeff again. But regardless, it made us realize how rare it is to meet truly good people, and what a gift it is when you do.