Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin'
When the culinary world refers to "The Lady," there is absolutely no question to whom they're referring: the queen of southern cuisine, celebrity chef Paula Deen. According to Paula, however, "I never refer to myself as a chef. I'm a cook." She's all that and more.
From the humble beginnings in 1989 of The Bag Lady, a home-made bag lunch delivery and catering service, to the 1996 grand opening of The Lady & Sons (with sons Jamie and Bobby) in historic, downtown Savannah, Paula Deen's culinary star has been shining for some time. She is also co-owner, with her brother, of Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, a haven for Low Country Georgia cooking. About their succulent chargrilled oysters, Paula says, "They're big, they're bold and brassy. We like that here in the South!"
Paula Has it Going On
A perpetually busy lady, Paula has her own magazine, Cooking with Paul Deen, and hosts two Food Network cooking shows, Paula's Party and Paula's Home Cooking, which recently won two daytime Emmys (Outstanding Lifestyle Host and Outstanding Lifestyle Program).
Her celebrity chef status has not only brought her appearances on a slew of top TV shows--Today, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, and The View, to name a few--but a tasty cameo role as well in 2005's hit movie, Elizabethtown, with Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom.
In her spare time, Paula has written six cookbooks plus her recently-published autobiography, It Ain't All About the Cookin'. She has an impressive catalog of Paula products including spices, sauces, dressings, Paula-inspired reading glasses, and pale pink T-shirts that read, "I'm still a hot babe. It just comes in flashes!"
In a December 2007 All Star Holiday Dessert Battle episode of Iron Chef America, Paula and chef Cat Cora took on celebrity chefs Tyler Florence and Robert Irvine. With sugar as the perfect holiday season secret ingredient, the women took top honors.
She's a Lady
Paula Deen is her own kind of "bold and brassy," although in a very genteel southern belle way. She shoots from the hip and speaks from the heart without a hint of artifice. And sometimes it's hard to tell whether there's more butter in her calorific recipes or in that slow, southern y'all drawl.