Though he was not selected as Food TV’s “Next Food Network Star,” class clown and food dork Adam Gertler managed to win his way into the hearts of, well, anyone who happened to catch the very last episode of the Next Food Network Star, because he basically redeemed himself for every stupid thing he had ever done on the show prior to that. By the end of the season, I was a fan.
Photo and logo courtesy of the Food Network
He didn’t win his own cooking show, but the Food Network must have seen star quality or kowtowed to the bombardment of viewer comments saying they couldn’t understand the final verdict that voted Adam Gertler out, because he’s back. His show, Will Work for Food, runs Monday nights on the Food Network and features Gertler acting, for the most part, like a dork, as he shows viewers all of the different, crazy, cool, and downright bizarre jobs that have to do with food. Each show features two different “jobs” and Gertler will suit up to partake in both — for better or for worse.
For the most part, Gertler is likable and easy to watch. The majority of jobs they find for him to do are actually interesting, and a lot of action shots fill out the show as we watch the host hamming it up for the camera while trying to execute the tasks.
But Gertler isn’t all nerdery and jokes. A sincere version of him arises during some of the voiceovers while he explains (a little too briefly) of how the jobs work. The serious version of Gertler is actually disarming and compelling and almost makes the show reminiscent of “Unwrapped” with Marc Summers… that is, until the serious explanations are cut short and the show reverts back to clips of Gertler acting like a dork again.
(Note to Food Network Execs: We don’t want another Guy Fieri. Actually, we don’t want Guy Fieri in the first place, so I don’t know what makes you guys think we want a second one. Marc Summers, on the other hand, we like. Give us more of that.)
Anyway, the show relies on Gertler doing ridiculous things, repeatedly. It’s borderline unfortunate. Many of the jobs are quite interesting and could use more explanation than we’re given.
Recent shows feature Gertler visiting an abalone farm, and he takes us through little clips of what it’s like to work on the farm. Not enough questions were answered. I really would have liked to have heard more nuts and bolts about how the farm actually worked — instead, we just got little glimpses of this vast farm behind him. I appreciate the shots of Gertler doing and saying stupid things, but the producers of the show rely more on his doing dumb things than on his ability to connect to the audience on a more serious note, which he is clearly capable of doing if given the chance.
The other half of the show was watching Gertler learning to be a Benihana chef, flipping food and utensils around a hot grill. I liked the humor in that, but it was just too much. Slow motion replays of Gertler almost hitting a customer with a piece of flying food was not necessary. It’s funny the first time, not the second and third.
To give both segments of the show equal time, there was a lot of repetition on the Benihana chef (we heard them say it takes six months to train to be a Benihana chef — which we only needed to hear the first time, not three) and not enough information given on the abalone farm. I would almost like to see it formatted a little more like Unwrapped, where we get three or four different jobs per show all relating to a main theme, and with a larger variety of jobs featured, everything just keeps moving right along nicely, without getting stagnant. With only featuring two different jobs, things get stretched out way too long. Seriously. Long segments of Adam Gertler acting as a “wine angel” brings a whole new meaning to the word “forever”: He’s a dork and he’s a wine angel. We get it.
I’ll continue to watch this show periodically because it’s interesting, but I’ll have my remote in hand to fast-forward through the slow, repetitive bits.