The Next Food Network Star: do you believe in karma?

For those of us pissed off that the judges of “The Next Food Network Star” kept giving Debbie Lee pass after pass this season, despite the fact that she was dishonest and deceitful while acting all jolly and Korean, karma reared its head in our favor. More on that in a minute, but last night’s showdown between the final three of Lee, Melissa D’Arabian and Jeffrey Saad was actually very exciting to watch.

They began the episode by having the three finalists meet Emeril Lagasse at his restaurant, and Emeril announced their challenge for the week–in honor of the upcoming film, “Julie & Julia,” the contestants would have to create their own ultimate 3-course meal for some very distinguished judges. Each would have $1000 to shop as well as the help of a sous chef. After shopping (and Jeffrey being way under budget), they arrived back to find out who their sous chefs would be….naturally, former contestants….Jamika, Michael and Katie, who would be paired with Melissa, Debbie and Katie, respectively.

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Adam Gertler from Food Network talks about his new show, cheesesteak, and Philly sports

Adam Gertler was one of two runners-up in Season 4 of The Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star,” the same show that launched the white hot career of Guy Fieri. But six or so months later, Gertler has re-emerged with a new show on the network, “Will Work For Food.” The show pits Gertler in temporary places of employment such as fishing for lobster, digging for clams, and making honey from real bees. We had the chance to catch up with Gertler, who hails from Philadelphia, to talk about his show and more….

Premium Hollywood: Has there been a moment or moments on “Will Work For Food” where you were legitimately scared, like with the bees? And how disgusting was it to eat that giant clam raw?

Adam Gertler: Legitimately scared – hmm…I thought I was going to slide off the oyster boat because there was no railing, the boat was rocking, and it was slippery and wet from the snow. I was also a little concerned when digging the wine cave because I thought the cave was going to collapse on me before we applied the shotcrete (concrete fired out of a cannon) to finish it. The chainsaw I used when carving the ice sculptors had me worrying about possibly cutting off an ear. Considering I have no idea how to use a chain saw for its true purpose, using it for ice sculpting just seemed nuts. The clam was definitely disgusting in both texture and taste. And if I had the chance to do it again…yeah, I would.

PH: Do you come up with the ideas for the show, or do the producers?

AG: The segments are a collaborative effort with the “Will Work for Food team.” We do research and find great ideas for segments, then make them happen – it’s a team effort.

PH: Is there a job out there you absolutely would not do for food?

AG: There is nothing I won’t try at least once. I figure if it doesn’t put my life in danger, I can only grow from the experience.

PH: What is your dream job of working for food?

AG: I would love to go to Italy and learn how to make different kinds of salumi and cured meats as well as cheeses. Those are some of my favorite foods, and I would love to learn from the pros to see how they are made.

PH: How soon after “Food Network Star” ended did someone contact you about this show? What were you doing at the time?

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