Aaron McCargo, Jr. competed on and won season four of "The Next Food Network Star" in 2008, beating out thousands of culinary hopefuls for the ultimate dream job – his own Food Network show. "Big Daddy's House" premiered August 3, 2008 and ranked as the number one "In the Kitchen" weekend show during its initial six-episode run. Food Network renewed the show for a second season, which premiered January 4, 2009. "Big Daddy's House" averages a 25% African-American audience, helping to raise the overall racial diversity of the network's viewers.
On "Big Daddy's House," Aaron shares his passion for big, bold flavors and fun, family cooking. From comfort foods to barbecue favorites to breakfast delights, Aaron whips up mouth-watering recipes inspired by many years of culinary experience and his fun-loving family while bringing a down-to-earth vibe and warm smile to the kitchen. Whether cooking with his children, relatives, friends, or even by himself, big food and big fun reign supreme.
A family man who adores all things flavorful, Aaron's passion for cooking was sparked at the age of four when he started baking cakes in his sister's Easy Bake Oven. Always an entrepreneur at heart, Aaron began making and selling cakes and cookies to his childhood friends. At the age of 13, Aaron was as a Junior Volunteer in the kitchen at Cooper Hospital University. He has since worked in nine New Jersey restaurants including casual and fine dining. In 2003, Aaron opened his own restaurant in Camden, N.J., called McCargo's Restaurant, which closed in 2006. Most recently, Aaron served as the Executive Chef of Catering at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He attended Atlantic Cape Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts.
Born and raised in Camden, N.J., Aaron regularly speaks to youth at community schools and events illustrating that they too can succeed despite the odds. Honoring him for his success and service, Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison presented Aaron with the keys to the city in 2008 and designated September 25 as Aaron McCargo, Jr. Day.
Aaron comes from a large family whose constant support has helped him achieve his goals. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys Bible study, tennis, buffalo wings, watching sports, and traveling. Married with three children, Aaron lives with his family in New Jersey.
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