Celebrity Chef Paula Deen proved Sept. 21 that her fan base is alive and well. It was pretty much "her show" for opening day of the second Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Dallas. The exhibition continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dallas Convention Center, and fans will have another opportunity to witness the Deen brand of kitchen entertainment again at a 1 p.m. "performance." See full schedule.
"I want to thank y'all for believing in me," she told the audience, most of whom stood and cheered when she entered the room. A deposition given during a legal proceeding last June led to a loss of many of her sponsorships and endorsements, and the Food Network did not renew her contract. At the Houston version of the cooking show held the previous weekend, her first public appearance since the controversy surfaced, Deen received a 10-minute standing ovation.
Son Bobby Deen, who has his own television cooking show, and husband Michael joined the exuberant Paula on the cooking stage Saturday and gave the packed roomful of supporters exactly what they wanted, a playful, sometimes slightly naughty, lesson on how to have fun in the kitchen, complete with personal stories and a lot of laughs.
For a peanut butter pie that the trio prepared, Paula advised the audience: "You better write down the recipe because it's not written anywhere else." She added that she was "playin' around one day," and just started mixing ingredients together, noting that "it's never exactly the same." The finishing touch, after the whipped cream, the cream cheese, a graham cracker crust and, of course, the butter, is the addition of crushed bits of candy bar on top.
Paula also devised a lattice top crust for a traditional Southern favorite, Chicken Pot Pie. The samples of both pies that were distributed were given appreciative approval.
Paula Deen was everywhere on the exhibit floor for this weekend show: Her cookbooks were in the "Market," her cookware and food products had a booth, a travel agency promoted "family cruises" offering an opportunity to party with the extended Deen family twice a year, and several lifesize posters of Paula just invited posing with her.
"I'm going to be back out doing what I love to do," she promised her fans. They believe her.