Greenwich Time (Sunday)

Somebody fed Phil

Host of Netflix’s ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ samples New Haven apizza on Shubert stage

- By Leeanne Griffin

Somebody fed Phil — three types of New Haven apizza. Phil Rosenthal, the host of Netflix’s food and travel series “Somebody Feed Phil,” was in the Elm City on April 12 for a stop on his “An Evening with Phil Rosenthal” tour. Before the show began at the Shubert Theatre, Rosenthal stopped by Modern Apizza for dinner. But by the time the performanc­e ended, he had sampled all three of the city’s “holy trinity” of pizzerias.

That’s thanks to New Haven’s Colin Caplan, a pizza guru, author, historian, storytelle­r and founder of the Taste of New Haven food tour agency. During the question-andanswer portion of Rosenthal’s show, Caplan appeared at the microphone holding three large pizzas: one each from Frank Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern.

“We’re known as the pizza capital,” he said. “I know you had dinner at Modern already, but I’ve got our Big 3 — the holy trinity, the best pizza in the whole world, is right here, sitting in my hands.”

Rosenthal accepted the pizzas and tasted each one on stage, sharing slices with moderator Vinnie Penn and the first row of the audience. In the moment, he didn’t elaborate on which was his favorite, but with each taste, he did a version of the “happy dance” viewers know from his show when he seems to particular­ly enjoy a bite of food.

Caplan said on April 15 that Rosenthal’s promotion team reached out to him ahead of the show, indicating that they wanted to showcase something that was “very unique to New Haven.” When they asked if they could get him involved with something pizza-related, Caplan said his answer was “Hell, yes.”

“It’s been one of my missions to bring pizza to all the celebritie­s that come to New Haven. Because this is something that we do best, this is something that people should know New Haven for,” Caplan said. “So it became an obvious connection.”

Caplan said there was a bit of “improv” in getting the pizzas to the stage, and that’s how he ended up posing as an audience member waiting to ask a question. The three pies featured a large mozzarella from Modern, a tomato pie with garlic from Frank Pepe’s and a white potato pie with rosemary from Sally’s, he said.

Rosenthal told Caplan he had tried a variety of pies at

Modern during his pre-show dinner, and when Caplan asked him to name his favorite of the three pizzerias, he said the Netflix star picked the State Street staple.

“He actually said ‘I really liked Modern,’ ” Caplan said. “You never know when you’re going to find your favorite food, your favorite pizza place. And as Phil says, ‘Just try it.’ ”

Rosenthal’s series explores local cuisine and culture in cities around the world. The show’s seventh season, which was released on March 1, took him to Mumbai, Kyoto, Dubai, Iceland, Scotland and Taipei, as well as U.S. stops in Washington D.C. and Orlando.

In a March interview with Hearst Connecticu­t, Rosenthal described his current job as his dream, but he initially got his start in scripted television. His most successful project was sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” with Ray Romano, for which he served as executive producer from 1996 to 2005.

Looking for a new television opportunit­y once “Raymond” ended, he sought to combine his passions for food and travel. It took him 10 years, he said, with even his agent expressing skepticism that he was qualified to host such a program, but his first documentar­y series, “I’ll Have What Phil’s

Having,” debuted on PBS in 2015. Six episodes followed him through Paris, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Los Angeles. Though the series only lasted one season, Rosenthal’s dream continued, as “Somebody Feed Phil” debuted in 2018 on Netflix.

“We only do five or six episodes a season. This year, we were lucky we did eight. But it’s not that many episodes per year. And so I’ve only scratched the surface of the earth,” he told Hearst Connecticu­t. “I have to go everywhere. I want to go everywhere.”

 ?? Netflix/Contribute­d photo ?? Phil Rosenthal, host of Netflix's “Somebody Feed Phil,” feeding himself in Rio de Janeiro.
Netflix/Contribute­d photo Phil Rosenthal, host of Netflix's “Somebody Feed Phil,” feeding himself in Rio de Janeiro.
 ?? Modern Apizza/Contribute­d photo ?? “Somebody Feed Phil” host Phil Rosenthal stopped by Modern Apizza in New Haven and met Arianna Giarrantan­a on April 12 before his tour stop at the Shubert Theatre.
Modern Apizza/Contribute­d photo “Somebody Feed Phil” host Phil Rosenthal stopped by Modern Apizza in New Haven and met Arianna Giarrantan­a on April 12 before his tour stop at the Shubert Theatre.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States