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?
AG: Several months after the show I was approached by Food Network with this amazing opportunity. I was still working at Amada Restaurant in Philadelphia as a server.
PH: Would you have preferred to have your own cooking show, or this show? (if you feel it’s not politically correct, you don’t have to answer this)
AG: “Will Work for Food” brings together my love for food and my passion for acting and improv. I also love being able to travel around and meet people while on location.
PH: Who are some of the other Food Network personalities you look up to and have respect for?
AG: Tyler Florence has classic recipes with good techniques and makes food really approachable for the home cook. Alton Brown has the most informative show on the network, and he does it with a great sense of humor and amazing knowledge. Mario Batali is the consummate professional, and all his restaurants are amazing. Lastly, I have to say — Bob Tuschman (laughs), he gave me a job and I love him for it – it shows wisdom beyond his years!
PH: Who rules Philly? The Eagles or Phillies? And who has the best cheesesteak?
AG: Right now, it’s definitely the Phillies. Any other time, I would say the Eagles but as of now they own the town. In Utley, we trust. Tony Luke’s (or Oregon Ave. in South Philly) has the best cheese steaks, definitely best Liscio’s rolls. Even better is their chicken cutlet with broccoli rabe and provolone.
“Will Work For Food” airs on Monday evenings at 9:30/8:30 central on The Food Network.