Following the nine-season run of his Emmy-winning comedy Everybody Loves Raymond, Phil Rosenthal successfully segued into documentary-making with Exporting Raymond, which chronicled his adventures in Russia overseeing the development of a local version of his CBS series. Now, Rosenthal again is venturing into new territory: reality television. He is set to do a pilot for a travel and food reality series, in which “a great chef takes me to a great city and shows me where to eat,” he says.
In the pilot, he and chef Thomas Keller will travel to London and spend nine days exploring great eateries in all price ranges with Keller and his local chef friends as guides. Rosenthal will provide live updates during the trip on his Twitter feed. He will shop the completed pilot to TV networks and, if it goes to series, Rosenthal has chef Nancy Silverton lined up for a trip to Italy and Nobu Matsuhisa for an episode in Japan. Sometimes it won’t be chefs but famous local people who would show him around. “The goal of the show to motivate people to travel and provide them with the best guide where in the world to eat,” Rosenthal said.
His show draws parallels to other food & travel series, most notably Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. “I love him but I’m not like him — I prefer to have a reservation,” Rosenthal quipped.
The pilot is being financed by American Express, which approached Rosenthal after Exporting Raymond came out about doing something else in that vein. Rosenthal came up with the reality series idea, which stems from his passion for food. “It’s always been very important for me, I believe that families gather around food,” he said. He felt the same way about his TV family on Raymond, which made sure “had the best craft services.” The name of Rosenthal’s production company is Where’s Lunch, and he has invested in a number of local restaurants, including Mozza, Jar, Umami Burger, Bouchon and Hungry Cat. Food even factors into his travel pans. “I won’t go to a place unless I know the food is good,” he said.