Critic’s Notebook: Philly Still Loves You, Adam

A letter to Next Food Network Star's Philly-boy Adam Gertler.

Dear Adam,

I have to admit it. When I first tuned into this season’s Next Food Network Star I was skeptical about you, our hometown hero. The Smoked Joint, the now-closed barbecue restaurant you owned, was barely a hit. (But maybe that had more to do with its cursed location than the cooking.) And I still remember the restaurant’s use of inappropriate slogans — “Now that’s a great rack” and “Nobody beats our meat” — which hardly inspired me to start your fan club.

But somehow you won me over. Maybe it was your glee when you correctly identified the acorn-rich diet of black Iberico pigs. You graciously credited your education at Amada, where you’ve worked as a server. Maybe it was when you were being constantly cut down for your cooking while other competitors were clearly in worse shape. Maybe my Philly pride got the best of me. No matter. By the season finale, I was enthusiastically rooting for you.

I think you were robbed. I’m sorry you didn’t win your own show, but I’d be happy to see you bring your new celebrity and approachable cooking style back to Philly. Just pick a better location this time.

Joy Manning