Who would ever think that a housewife from Albany, Georgia, with no formal training in food would become one of the country's most beloved celebrity chefs? Everyday, hordes of fans from across the country line up outside The Lady & Sons, Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah, to catch a glimpse of TV's most approachable chef. This lively Southern woman with piercing blue eyes and an infectious laugh is proof that dreams really do come true. With best-selling cookbooks, a lifestyle magazine, and not one but two hit shows on The Food Network, it's easy to see why there is no stopping this woman's success.
Living with agoraphobia for 20 years and dealing with a failed marriage, Paula Deen was left with two growing sons and no source of income. Without a college education and very little to fall back on, the then 42-year-old housewife reached deep into her Southern roots and drew inspiration from what she knew best—her kitchen stove. Her culinary career began in her own kitchen in June 1989 with The Bag Lady. This home-based lunch delivery service started with homemade chicken salad sandwiches and warm, fresh cookies wrapped in plastic wrap. Her sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, served as delivery boys and sold to local businesses. Within two years, The Bag Lady grew too large for her home, so Deen opened her first restaurant on Savannah's Southside, which was called The Lady. In 1996, after five successful years, Deen was ready for another challenge. She relocated to downtown and opened The Lady & Sons, which to this day serves thousands of visitors, including celebrity and political clientele.
In 1997, Deen self-published her first cookbook, Favorite Recipes of The Lady & Her Friends. As luck would have it, a major publishing house picked it up when one of its literary agents walked into the restaurant to escape a rainstorm. She bought a copy of the cookbook and realized its potential. Shortly after, the name was changed to The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, and Deen found herself on QVC selling it. Deen's career seemed to have no limits after QVC. In the few years that followed, she published numerous cookbooks, including The Lady & Sons Too!; The Lady & Sons Just Desserts; Paula Deen & Friends, Living It Up, Southern Style; Paula Deen's Kitchen Classics; and most recently, Paula Deen Celebrates! In spring 2007, Deen released her memoirs entitled Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin'.
Paula's Home Cooking premiered on television November 16, 2002. Airing on The Food Network, the program features Deen doing what she does best: being herself and teaching people how to bring joy into their kitchens and homes. For Deen, it's about teaching viewers to bring out the best in their dishes and create happy memories with their families, no matter what the budget.
In late 2005, Paula joined forces with the Birmingham, Alabama-based publishing company Hoffman Media, LLC, to launch her own lifestyle magazine: Cooking with Paula Deen. As editor-in-chief, Deen shares the secrets to making her favorite meals. Each issue of Cooking with Paula Deen features articles and recipes based on Paula's uncomplicated style of home cooking. The magazine also offers Paula's tips for entertaining, holiday menus, home décor, and gardening. After launching with the November/December 2005 issue, Cooking with Paula Deen tripled circulation in only three issues and now boasts a print run of more than one million!
Paula's Party, Deen's second show on The Food Network, premiered in September 2006. This show features the silver-tressed wonder interacting and cooking in front of a live audience. With her infectious laugh and sheer genius at making people feel good, Paula's Party was an instant hit.
In September 2006, Smithfield Foods, Inc., joined forces with Deen to promote and market a line of Smithfield products and launch a line of pantry items, including sauces and spices created by Deen herself.
Deen appears regularly on morning shows, such as The Today Show; Good Morning America; The View; and Live with Regis and Kelly. In addition, Deen has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was cast in a supporting role in Elizabethtown, a feature film by Cameron Crowe starring Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, and Susan Sarandon.
On June 15, 2007, Deen was nominated for and won not one, but two, Daytime Emmy Awards—"Outstanding Lifestyle Host" and "Outstanding Lifestyle Program."
Copyright 2006 Paula Deen Enterprises, LLC