Coming to the Food Network: 'Kid in a Candy Store' with Adam Gertler

"Everybody becomes young the instant they walk into an ice cream shop."

You may remember Adam Gertler from Season 4 of The Next Food Network Star. He was charismatic and great in front of the camera, but ultimately lost out to Aaron McCargo Jr. (a.k.a. Big Daddy). But the Food Network luckily noticed his potential, and before long he landed his very own show, Will Work for Food.

After a season of exploring exciting and challenging jobs in the food industry, Gertler has moved on to a new project. Starting Monday July 12th, at 8 p.m. ET, his show Kid in a Candy Store will take us on a tour to find delicious and decadent desserts across the country. It reminded me of Unwrapped meets Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives—informative and entertaining at the same time. I sat down to chat with Adam about this new venture, his thoughts on tasty treats in his neighborhood, and the transition from NFNS to hosting his own show.

So, who conceived of the Kid in a Candy Store concept? Was it your idea? It wasn't my concept actually—we had done a special called "Extreme Sweets" with over-the-top sweets and candy. The Network didn't really have a sweets show at the time and Bob Tuschman called me and said they wanted me to get one off the ground. I'm a good-times guy, and they like that good, honest kind of fun.

I kind of wish Will Work for Food was still going, but this has been in a lot of ways better. And I'm still getting to go in there and get my hands on the food (which are always clean, by the way). I get to taste the product and talk to the people who are eating it, and see why they like it. It's a very unifying subject. Everybody becomes young the instant that they walk into an ice cream shop.

What was your favorite job on WWFF? The most challenging? So many of them were so hard. I really liked making goat cheese and goat milk. There was something about the life that those ladies had; there's something so beautiful and fulfilling about just making cheese.

The hardest thing was working on the oyster boat in New Orleans—lifting sacks of oysters, working on a boat with no railings. I've never worked that hard in my life.

What is your favorite dessert where you live now? Right now I'm living in Venice, California—we actually covered this truck called Coolhaus which does ice cream sandwiches with homemade ice creams and cookies. They personalize the sandwiches—they even do one Italian-style on brioche with gelato-y ice cream.

I travel almost all the time, so when I'm home I'm on a mission to find something delicious. There's no casual eating.

You and your brother used to own a barbecue joint in Pennsylvania, and you clearly love to cook. Do you ever want to open another restaurant? I'm very much liking doing TV stuff, but my brother and I definitely want to have another shot. We want to refine some of the stuff that we've done before, hopefully sooner than later. But I don't think I would have to choose one or the other. I would definitely love another go at it, we've learned so much in the last couple of years.

How did NFNS prepare you for your own show? Well, I've always acted like I was on TV, even when I wasn't (much to the chagrin of the people around me). I was very comfortable before the camera. I never expected to get anywhere on the show, so even when it was really really stressful I was always having fun.