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Next Food Network Star: Big Daddy’s House, A Review

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Yesterday, I decided to follow through on my first season of “watching” Next Food Network Star and check out winner Aaron McCargo Jr.’s show. I figured the folks at the FN know more than I do about their programming lineup, and they had their reasons for choosing Big Daddy. Aaron’s show, Big Daddy’s House, airs at 12:30 pm on Sunday, just after Down Home with the Neeleys. So from noon-1 pm, you get a full dose of house and home, if you know what I mean. That said, Aaron’s show was better than I expected. Of course, the dude has been heavily coached, and who knows how many outtakes hit the trash after they taped the 30 minute show? It was edited to the max.

The set, meant to look like his house–heck, maybe it is his house–is downright tacky. The refrigerator is decorated with picture magnets, and stage right there is a picture hanging askew in the hallway. Aaron says “yeah, baby” a lot. And he refers to most of his ingredients as “bad boys.” When he picked up a raw New York strip he quipped, “I’ve got the goods, baby. I love it.” Then he kissed it. He made potatoes au gratin with his three favorite cheeses-cheddar, white cheddar, and processed American cheese. He used panko to top the potatoes. He brought our his best friend, smoky paprika, which in hindsight sounds like a chick he picked up on the strip in Vegas.

When Aaron was cooking, he was nervous and uneasy and he sweated a lot. (“I’m sweatin’ cuz I’m so excited!” he claimed.) However, the editor managed to splice in plenty of gushy, over-the-top Aaron moments. My three favorites: “What is steak au poivre? It sounds French, right? It’s not. It just means pepper.” “Call Big Daddy and tell him to come back to earth cuz he just took off.” And, finally, “Kiss your behind goodnight cuz here we go.”

Am I bitter they didn’t pick Lisa? Hell, no. I think winning these things cuts one open both ways. For now he has his 30 minutes of cooking fame. Then he’ll write a cookbook. For the rest of his contract–and, probably, his life–he will make appearances at food product conventions all over the place. If that makes Aaron happy, then I’m happy. I will say I wanted to eat every bite of what he cooked. However, next Sunday, I’m going back to the Dog Whisperer. Cesar makes a mean salad. Woof.

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