Monday, July 12, 2010

Thoughts and Musings...

First off, a little mea culpa: I fully intended to be more active on this blog – until life and laziness got in the way. After a while I thought, “Who really cares what I'm doing anyway?” Well, the fact is, this can be quite therapeutic – so now, like so many others, I blog. I promise to keep you posted on what's going on in my world from now on.

If you told me two years ago after “losing” The Next Food Network Star that tonight I'd be celebrating the premiere of my second Food Network series (albeit a mini one), I would have said, “Mom, it just doesn't work that way. The world is too cold and cruel to reward silly me with all of my wildest dreams.” Well, once again, it turns out that Mom was right.

Tonight is the premiere of Kid In A Candy Store, a new Food Network show that explores the world of sweets through my eyes. (Actually, through the camera of the very talented John Ealer.) We've been working on this show since March, traveling the country from Utah to Texas, Tennessee to Maine, with me stuffing my face all the way. Taffy, chocolate, cupcakes, Peeps, brownies and ice cream: what a sweet ride its been. As I begin my new life as a 500 lb. diabetic, its hard to feel anything but thanks for the extremely rare opportunities I've had over the past two years.

The Next Food Network Star began the madness, and confirmed what I had always expected: life in front of the lens isn't for everyone, but it just might be for me. The stress and excitement of that competition challenged my resolve and introduced me the world of Food Network first hand, as well as some friends I plan on having for a long time, including Aaron “Big Daddy” McCargo Jr., Shane Lyons ( I hate how wise that 22 year old is!), Kelsey Nixon (but more on Kelsey later) and even Ms. Lisa Garza (she's really quite something). I may not have won. I may have had some embarrassing stumbles along the way. But I survived, and was rewarded with the greatest prize imaginable, a TV show: Will Work For Food.

If The Next Food Network Star was television boot camp, then being in the field for WWFF was being in the trenches of battle. I was all by myself with the thing I've wanted more than anything my whole life, and no real clue what to do with it. I think the concept of that show is amazing, and the production company did as good a job as they could with a very green me as the host, but let's face it: I had a lot to learn. The experience was invaluable, from the things I learned about jobs in the food world to all the fascinating people I met on the road. (I've made several trips back to New Orleans to hang with John Burke, the king of Cajun Caviar.) Part of me wishes that show would re-up and start making new episodes after an extended hiatus, a la Family Guy, but I won't hold my breath.

After Will Work For Food, I was asked to work on a one-hour food special called Extreme Sweets. There, I learned the joys of eating insects and chocolate-covered habanero chiles. That special was the impetus for the new series,Kid In A Candy Store. In the interim, I've been fortunate enough to participate regularly on Best Thing I Ever Ate, which makes me ridiculously hungry when I watch it. (I usually want to go immediately to one of the spots featured on the show, but I think that the people at the restaurant would be like, “Wasn't he the guy on the show? And he came in the same day? What a dork.” What can I say? Bobby Flay can make a burger sound damn tasty.)

I also got to be a challenger on both Chef vs.City and Food Network Challenge, paired up for both with fellow finalist and winner of season four of The Next Food Network Star, Aaron McCargo Jr.. Both times, we won – and that felt good, even if the Chef vs. City victory came down to a wrong turn.

I even had a little trilogy of Freakiest specials on the now-defunct Fine Living Network. Freakiest Festivals: I cooked at a road kill cook-off. Freakiest Vacations: I was an actual merman, in the tradition of Derek Zoolander. Freakiest Foods: I tried to eat 10 lb. hamburger that was also on fire. After that last stunt, I determined that such challenges were best left to another Adam.

And here we are are at last. July 12, 2010: Kid In A Candy Store kick-off day. People often congratulate me on my success, but what I'm really good at is failing. I wanted to be an actor and that didn't work out, so I pursued my passion for food and opened The Smoked Joint with my brother and friends in Philadelphia. The restaurant, while a critical darling, failed to turn a profit and closed. My sob story was just the sort of drama that appeals to those who cast reality shows, and I landed on The Next Food Network Star. Which I lost. My efforts were rewarded with my very own show, which lasted one season. Fail. Where most would be sent packing to reality show contestant heaven (which is probably more like purgatory), I managed to stick around just a little longer: a new series, more Best Thing I Ever Ate episodes, a sweets special airing this October and a new show called After Party, which premiers July 18 on Cooking Channel following the final five episodes of NFNS with fellow finalist Kelsey Nixon and Sunny “For Real” Anderson. I guess it is true when they say “Winning isn't everything” – at least it hasn’t been for me.

Thanks so much to everyone who has been in my corner. Enjoy the show.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Season one is almost done!

Hey all. Well what a year 2009 is setting out to be. It's been so much fun watching my show,"Will Work For Food" out here in California (a really nice place to visit if you haven't already). I think my favorite episodes have been some of the later segments we shot such as Oyster harvester, Chocolate dress maker, Cajun Caviar and Truffle Forager. I can tell the differences in my performance dramatically from the beginning of the shoot to the end. It kind of makes me cringe a little to watch some of the earlier segments. Man, I didn't know hosting a TV show was going to be so tough. You really have to know when to do more, be more energetic as well as when to just do less and be yourself. I'm certainly not complaining in any manner of speaking. Working on this show has been a lifelong dream come true and I am so grateful to Food Network for seeing some potential in me. Bob Tuschman, I'm a fan.
I've loved food since I can remember and having the opportunity to see these jobs first hand has opened my mind to a whole new way of looking at food and eating as well as cooking and being responsible about what we choose to eat. I'm not saying I'm going vegetarian or relinquishing my cheeseburger any time soon, bit I do think its important to know where your food comes I got to farm abalone, milk goats for cheese, dig wine caves, make caviar, extract honey and more importantly, meet the people responsible. I say it a lot, but eating any of these things will never be the same for me.
As for me. Well, I've got a bunch of cool Food Network projects coming up that I'm super psyched about like more episodes of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" as well as being "The Armchair Judge" for "Next Food Network Star 5" on Plus more stuff on the horizon. keep checking back here as I'm committing to more blogging!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama and Adam: a winning direction for America!

As I sit here watching history being made, the inauguration of Barak Obama as the 44th president, I am humbled to share this common experience with people all over the world. It really puts things in perspective. I've got chills down my spine as I, and hopefully many of us, dare to think positively about our collective future. But wait. Isn't this supposed to be a blog about my adventures working various food jobs and other silly acts? Why, yes it is but how can one ignore the magnitude of the history we are partaking in?
Will Work For Food premiered last night on Food Network and now the world knows what I've been up to for the past six months. The experience of traveling the nation and meeting different individuals and working these jobs is one that I am so honored to have had. I hope you all enjoyed the premiere episode highlighting my lobster and honey adventures. I think you get the idea of how this is going to play out. I go. I do job. Sometimes I do the job very well and sometimes, most of the time actually, It's a bit of a struggle. Hopefully, no matter what the results of my particular employment situation, it makes for an enjoyable watch.
The exciting thing aboutWWFF is that each episode is different. You'll never see me screw up the same way twice. Hopefully you'll learn a few things on the way as well. Whether I'm eating competitvely or trying to be a flair bartender. Farming Abalone or eating dog food. I hope you enjoy the show as much as I enjoyed making it. Please let me know what you think. It's my hope that in this format I may be able to give a little more insight to these adventures as you can only get so much out of a 10 or 12 minute edit. Consider this blog a sort of "behind the scenes with Adam Gertler". Thank you all so much for your support and congratulations go out to a America.
Adam Gertler