usedview.com is honored and thrilled to have Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. take on The 5 Question Challenge.
Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. made a huge impression on viewers during the fourth season of Food Network Star, where he proved himself worthy to join the likes of Bobby Flay, Alton Brown and Rachael Ray as part of the Food Network family.
Since its premiere on August 3, 2008, Big Daddy’s House continues to invite fans over to sample Aaron’s superb recipes that showcase bold flavors that makes viewers’ mouths water in delight.
In addition to his appearances on Big Daddy’s House and segments on The Chew, Katie and Doctor Oz, Chef Aaron has released his own signature line of herb and spices called the Flavor of Bold, which are preservative and chemical free.
Chef Aaron published his first cookbook: Simply Done Well Done, which he shares his expertise on cooking with big and bold flavors in recipes that will satisfy any child, relative or friend.
For his 5 Question Challenge, he talked about how his life has changed since winning Food Network Star, the factors that he considers when creating a dish from conception to table and how long it take for him to create Simply Done Well Done.
Jacob Elyachar: How has your life changed since your win on “Food Network Star”?
Aaron McCargo, Jr.: My life has changed tremendously when it comes to being able to show people all over the country what I think big, bold-flavored food should consist of, by looking at and using my recipes. I have also been able to inspired folks to go after the impossible while using their God-given talents to achieve a goal that does not seem achievable by their own measures, and to keep fighting to the end.
JE: What have been some of the challenges that you faced in your career? How did overcome them?
AMJ: Some of my challenges has been to get folks to understand that I am an out of the box thinker. I have always put flavoring food over presentation (not that presentation isn’t important, because it is). That seems to be a hang-up with some folks because now food has become such a visual thing that some have forgotten the basis of becoming a chef or wanting to cook to please people and that is the taste and the love put in the dish.
I have been able to stay focused and stick to my roots because of the key values that have brought me this far: consistency, passion and being creative. This is what has worked and I will continue to use these ingredients to achieve a goal of excellence in very dish or recipe I create.
JE: What are the factors do you consider when it comes to creating entrees?
AMJ: It was always a challenge trying to get people to understand that food should be enjoyable, stress free and simple. Not to mention it should be your own style. If you use your own style being it using my bold approach with lots of spices and herbs or choose to go simple salt and pepper and put love into your dish, your creativity will come thru on the plate and in the palates of the ones you serve. I think we have come to a place of trying to make things a little more complicated and structured, which to me takes away from all the fun. If you like red wine with your fish or beer with your steak, do you and enjoy being different.
JE: Recently, you released your cookbook: “Simply Done Well Done.” How long does it take to create a cookbook?
AMJ: It really takes a lifetime to create a cookbook with a purpose from my experience. It is all about the goal you are looking to achieve at the end. Mine was to keep it simple, but to know that at the end of all the dishes you would have prepared it would also be well done. I have taken recipes from my childhood to my adulthood from friends and from restaurants that I have enjoyed and made them unique in a way that anyone would love to try them and feel no pressure in obtaining great results. When it came to making it a book it took one-and-a-half years to complete.
JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring chefs who want to have their own culinary TV show, what advice would you share with them?
AMJ: I would tell any chef that is inspiring to have their own show to be true to themselves and the foods they love to do most. If it is an ethnic background that you want to focus on, or being an expert at cooking with few ingredients that are healthy because that’s how you roll, stick with it and just perfect it!
One thing, I have come to notice is that the viewers (me included) are looking for the expert in the cuisine that you are preparing and not so much of knowing all foods from one person. Just do what you do with high energy, enthusiasm and mad love!
To learn more about Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr., visit his website: http://www.aaronmccargo.com/