Camden man wins ‘Next Food Network Star’

Aaron McCargo Jr, of Camden, is the winner of "The Next Food Network Star" and will have his own cooking show - "Big Daddy's Kitchen" - on the cable channel.

Camden's Aaron McCargo Jr. was in the right place last night at a viewing party for Food Network's finale of season four of "The Next Food Network Star."

The right place was Victor's Pub on Camden's waterfront, and McCargo, 37, was announced as the winner. He bested the two other finalists, Lisa Garza of Dallas and Adam Gertler of South Philadelphia.

More than 200 friends and family members - including McCargo's wife, Kim, sons Josh, 14, and Justin, 4, and daughter Jordan, 1 -- attended the Camden party. "I need a grill," McCargo said, pretending to be ill at ease.

McCargo, who's been cooking since age 7, attended a year at the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College, but left to help his mother with his brothers. He later created several restaurants in Camden. Most recently he was executive chef for catering at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City. He resigned June 6.

His prize was a Food Network cooking show "Big Daddy's Kitchen" will premiere in early August.

Gertler, 31, meanwhile, partied with about 100 friends and family members at N3rd, a pub in Northern Liberties.


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Contact staff writer Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or