January 12, 2010
10-004

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Food Network Star Stirs Inspiration at MLK Celebration

VALDOSTA -- Aaron McCargo Jr., star of Food Network's "Big Daddy's House," will share his story of triumph with the community at Valdosta State University's Annual Martin Luther King Commemorative Celebration from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, in the University Center Magnolia Room.

McCargo developed a passion for cooking early in life and dreamed of a life in which he could share his love for cooking. A young entrepreneur, he began making and selling baked goods as child. He also volunteered in the kitchen at Cooper Hospital University. After attending culinary school and working in both casual and fine dining restaurants for many years, he operated his own place, McCargo's Restaurant, in Camden, N.J. from 2003-06.

Rewarded with the ultimate dream job in 2008, the season four winner of The Next Food Network Star has completed two seasons of his own show -- the first of which ranked as the number one "In the Kitchen" weekend show for the year. On "Big Daddy's House," the New Jersey native shares his passion for big, bold flavors and fun, family cooking by showcasing a variety of mouth-watering recipes -- from comfort food to barbeque favorites -- with a warm smile and down-to-earth style.

McCargo, who lives in Camden, N.J. with his wife and three children, regularly shares his story of success with youth in the community. Representatives from VSU's Office of Equal Opportunity and Multicultural Affairs hope his story will inspire community members to reach for the stars and dream of a better life for all, as Dr. King did.

The Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration is an opportunity to unite the campus and surrounding communities in celebrating the living embodiment of Dr. King's dream," EOP Director Maggie Viverette said. "We as one are able to generate future dreams for every boy and girl throughout the region."

The annual MLK celebration is free and open to the local community. The Valdosta State University Mass Choir will also perform. Call Derrick Carter at (229) 333-5463 for more information.