‘Big Daddy’ Aaron McCargo first Dogwood culinary starPublished 8:43am Monday, April 19, 2010
Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival turns up the heat in 2010.
“Big Daddy” Aaron McCargo Jr., from the Food Network’s “Big Daddy’s House” will be the first ever culinary artist hosted.
Much like his television show, McCargo will present an on-stage food demonstration performance on Thursday, May 6.
McCargo 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 Aug. 3, 2008, and ranked as the number one “In the Kitchen” weekend show during its initial six-episode run.
Food Network renewed the show and McCargo invites America into his kitchen every week.
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 or friends, 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 4 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 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.
Aaron’s home town of Camden, N.J., recently honored him for his success and service; Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison presented Aaron with the keys to the city in 2008 and designated Sept. 25 as Aaron McCargo Jr. Day.
Aaron comes from a large family (he has three brothers and two sisters) whose constant support 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.
During his stay in Dowagiac, Chef McCargo will also teach a master-class for area Dowagiac students.
Working with today’s youth is very important to Aaron. He regularly speaks to youth at community schools and events, illustrating that they, too, can succeed despite any odds.
McCargo’s delicious dishes will be served to guests in special on-stage bistro seats.
“Big Daddy” will use only the finest ingredients for his recipes including area produce and Cass County pork.
Area products and Michigan wines will be featured at an hors d’oeuvre reception after the event.
Tickets are still available for the private reception with McCargo.
McCargo will perform one night only – Thursday, May 6, at the Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center, 57028 Riverside Drive, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available: upper level, $25; main floor, $35; and reception with Chef McCargo and premium seating, $60.
Dogwood Fine Arts Festival is made possible through generous sponsorship from the St. Denys Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Local sponsorship from Sears and Hannapel Home Center, both of Dowagiac, will create the perfect on-stage kitchen for the performance.
For tickets or more information, about this and other Dogwood Festival events call (269) 782-1115, (866) 490-2847 or visit www.dogwoodfinearts.org.