Aaron McCargo Jr.
Aaron McCargo Jr. competed on and won Season 4 of 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. With the show’s continued success, Aaron consistently films new episodes of Big Daddy’s House with Follow Productions outside Philadelphia.
On Big Daddy’s House, Aaron shares his passion for big, bold flavors and fun, family cooking, from comfort foods to barbeque 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. At the age of 13, Aaron was as a Junior Volunteer in the kitchen at Cooper Hospital University. From there Aaron’s entrepreneurial spirit set in as he began making and selling cakes and cookies to his childhood friends. 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. 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 continues to donate his time to non-profit organizations such as Share Our Strength; he served as the 2009 spokesperson for its Great American Dine Out campaign to help engage the restaurant industry to help end childhood hunger in America.
Aaron comes from a large family (he has three brothers and two sisters) 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.