Why Anthony Bourdain Was More Than Just A Popular Food Show Host, According To Another Popular Food Show Host

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN

Many celebrities have reacted to the death of Anthony Bourdain, shared heartfelt messages and stories of his kindness, with many serving as reminders of the legacy he has left behind. And when it comes to talking about his legacy, few can approach it from the angle of Everybody Loves Raymond creator and Bourdain super-fan Phil Rosenthal, who has been living a similar experience to Bourdain for some time now as the host of Netflix's food and travel series Somebody Feed Phil. Rosenthal spoke to CinemaBlend recently, telling me what he admired about Bourdain, and why the influential celeb was far more than just a TV personality.

He is very different from me in that he is a superhero. He did things that I could never do, and we saw him evolve, all of us, from a great chef, food writer, and travel expert into a world-class journalist where he's tackling the really tough subjects of the day and exposing us [to it]. He was the top show on CNN! To me, he's a great journalist. That's something that I don't think should be taken for granted. We all think of him as the food and travel guy, but he really was way more than that.

Phil Rosenthal hailed Anthony Bourdain's ability to continually evolve throughout his career to the point where he ended up being a world-class journalist that just so happened to use food and travel as means to an end. While Bourdain's post-restaurant journey may have started as a celebration of delectable meals in exotic locations, the chef pulled back the curtain on many under-served sections of the world to tell their stories, with much of the history lesson passed on through the food and locales Bourdain visited, which he masterfully wove into the program and kept viewers enthralled all the same.

There were times when Anthony Bourdain hit upon touchy subjects and situations that weren't exactly subtle, and those instances might have felt out of place on a show hosted by someone else. But it always felt perfectly natural with Bourdain, who always preferred candid conversation over planned-out talking points. Rosenthal mentioned that folks shouldn't take Bourdain's abilities such as these for granted, and should always appreciate those skills, in addition to the entertainment provided by shows such as No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Not to mention his written works.

Not everyone fully appreciated everything Anthony Bourdain was doing, but critics and Hollywood seemed to love it. Bourdain was showered with Emmys and various other awards throughout his career for his work on Parts Unknown, along with his contributions to the food industry as a whole, so there were definitely more people taking notice of his abilities beyond Phil Rosenthal. That said, it's certainly high praise from Rosenthal, considering he also took on widespread praise from the same overall audience, not only for Netflix's Somebody Feed Phil, but also for its PBS-set docu-series I'll Have What Phil's Having, which even won the host a James Beard Award.

Somebody Feed Phil: The Second Course is headed to Netflix on Friday, July 6, at 12:01 a.m. PT. For more on Anthony Bourdain, check out the one celebrity cook the former chef always wanted to cook with. To see how Rosenthal feels about doing more Everybody Loves Raymond, check out what he told us. For a look at other things headed to Netflix before and after that, be sure to visit our Netflix premiere guide. Those who are just interested in everything coming to television over the next couple of months should visit our summer premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.