'Everybody Loves Raymond' Creator on His PBS Food Series, Anthony Bourdain Comparisons

Phil Rosenthal - H 2015

Phil Rosenthal - H 2015

Phil Rosenthal wants people to know that he’s no Anthony Bourdain.

The Everybody Loves Raymond creator is kicking off his food travel show I’ll Have What Phil’s Having on PBS this September, but it won’t be anything like Parts Unknown.

“I’m not Bourdain. I don’t want to eat insects... or the parts I've seen him get sick from. I want to be a little more comfortable and I want to eat things I recognize as food,” he said Sunday at the Television Critics Association press tour, joking: “I’m exactly like Anthony Bourdain if he was afraid of everything.”

The six-part series follows Rosenthal as he explores cultural delicacies around the world, with stops in Hong Kong, Barcelona, Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles. He tries everything from “century-old” eggs (eggs fermented in ash) to pond loach (eels that swim in rice paddies), neither of which he enjoyed very much. Friends Ray Romano, Martin Short, Allison Janney and Larry Wilmore guest star.

On stage, Rosenthal explained that the idea for the series came about after PBS saw his 2010 comedy documentary, Exporting Raymond (wherein he travels to Moscow to retool his hit show for Russian audiences), and contacted him about him doing a similar travel series for the network. It was Rosenthal who decided it should be about good cuisine.

The television producer has long been passionate about food. In fact, giving his Raymond cast and crew quality meals was one of his top priorities. “The most important thing besides being nice and paying people a living wage was how good is the food going to be,” he said. (Rosenthal’s also named his production company “Where’s Lunch?”)

“I think we had the best craft services in town for the nine years we had that show,” he acknowledged, noting that it allowed the crew to feel more like family, as they’d often stand around the food and talk. He also thinks a tasty dish can solve almost anything, joking: “If those boys from ISIS would sit down and have some chocolate cake with me, everything would be OK.”

I’ll Have What Phil’s Having premieres Sept. 28 at 10 p.m. on PBS.