Paula Deen returns to Dallas this weekend as the "Star Performer" at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show. She will take to the Celebrity Stage at the Dallas Convention Center at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and again on Sunday, following what she termed her "return to public life" last weekend at the show in Houston. Fans there gave her a 20-minute standing ovation as a "welcome back." It was her first appearance since she was dropped by the Food Network in June.
Deen's troubles began when she gave a deposition admitting use of a racial slur some years ago. The court case filed by a former employee at a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother Bubba was finally dismissed, but not until Deen had been deserted by a number of her sponsors. She reportedly suffered financial losses amounting to millions of dollars in lost endorsements and canceled contracts, even though she tearfully and publicly apologized. Deen owns and operates The Lady and Sons, a popular restaurant in Savannah, Ga., and has published a number of cookbooks.
Other well-known chefs are scheduled to appear on the Celebrity Stage during the show as well, including Extreme Chef Terry French, "Uncle Millie," and Brad Turner who is known as the Grill Sergeant. Also on the program are Jason Roberts, Debi Mazar and Gabrielle Corcos, and The Cupcake Cowgirls. Local chefs as well as cooking and entertaining authorities will be featured each day at a series of tasting and entertaining workshops. See the complete schedule. These presentations are included in the price of general admission, but seating is limited.
This is the second year for the cooking show in Dallas. Last year's inaugural show, which also featured Deen along with Grill Master Bobby Flay as headliners, attracted approximately 10,000 for the two-day exhibition. In addition to the cooking demonstrations and workshops, more than 100 booths display food products and cooking and entertaining products for sale to the public. A marketplace bookstore and shop offers gifts and accessories. New this year at the market are scheduled opportunities to meet celebrity presenters for autographs and photos.
The exhibition opens at 10 a.m. each day, and runs until 6 p.m. Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday. General admission is $24.50 for adults and $12.50 for children. A one-day pass to all presentations in the Celebrity Theater is $63, which includes access to the exhibit floor. Additional fees are required to attend the Deen presentation, which will also feature son Bobby and husband Michael at what are expected to be sold-out appearances.
The Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show, begun in 2006, is held yearly in Washington, D.C. and Houston in addition to Dallas. It is owned and operated by The Tiny Kitchen, Inc.