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Food Network’s McCargo Speaks at ACA Ceremony
Chef Aaron McCargo, host of the Food Network’s “Big Daddy’s House,” was the guest speaker at the May 15 Academy of Culinary Arts Awards Ceremony.
McCargo of Camden began his culinary training at the Academy in 1989. He was named the “The Next Food Network Star” in July 2008. He shared his experience and advice with the graduating students and received an honorary ACA diploma from Chef Kelly McClay, Dean of the Academy.
McCargo first discovered his passion for cooking at age 4, by baking cakes in his sister’s Easy Bake Oven. As a teenager, he parlayed his budding culinary talents and innate entrepreneurial spirit into launching a cake business, selling his homemade concoctions to his high school classmates. “The Academy of Culinary Arts gave me a great foundation that catapulted me into my career as a chef,” he said. “The knowledge and support from my instructors was beneficial because, even now, I can recall the information they gave me back then.”
After leaving the ACA, he spent the next decade working in various South Jersey restaurants. In 2003, he opened McCargo’s Creative Cuisine eatery in Camden, which closed in 2006. He then landed the position of executive catering chef at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, which he left after beating out 7,000 contestants for the title of Next Food Network Star. “Big Daddy’s House” airs at 1:30 p.m. Sundays on the Food Network.