At Home With Paula
||January 19, 1947
||Paula's Home Souther Recipes Cooking, Paula's Party
Paula Ann Southren Recipes Groover, better known as Paula Deen (born Paula Ann Hiers on January 19, 1947), Sothern Recipes is an American cook, restaurateuse, writer, and TV personality who lives in Savannah, Georgia. She owns The Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah, and runs it with her sons, Jamie and Bobby. She has also published four cookbooks. She is known for her bubbly, "down-home" personality, which makes her a favorite among TV viewers. On her shows, books and appearances, she still uses the surname Deen, from her first marriage.
Born in Albany, Georgia, Deen is a notable graduate of Albany High School. She married her first husband after graduating from high school in 1965. Her parents both died by the time she was 23 and as a result she developed a fear of death which led to chronic agoraphobia. She was a proficient Southern cook, a talent she used to help her deal with her condition. In 1986, she felt well enough to take a job as a bank teller. She was robbed at gunpoint the next year, and that incident led her to deal with her agoraphobia head-on. After the family moved to Savannah in 1989, she decided to parlay her cooking experience into a catering service. She would make sandwiches and other meals, and her sons would deliver them.
The Bag Lady, as the business was named, was wildly successful and soon outgrew her kitchen. She was hired by a Best Western hotel in Savannah to cook meals, where she worked for five years. The hotel restaurant struggled at first, but it turned around after Deen opened a buffet line there. The stress of working all the time at the restaurant and on The Bag Lady strained her relationship with her sons, and she ended up divorcing her husband in 1992. On January 8, 1996, she opened her own restaurant, The Lady and Sons, in downtown Savannah on West Congress Street. Within a few years, the restaurant moved to a larger building in Savannah's Historic District. USA Today named The Lady and Sons the "International Meal of the Year" in 1999. Chances are you won't find Paula at her Lady and Sons location because of being so busy with her other activities. Her sons, when they are in town, run the restaurant now.
In 1997, Paula self-published The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cooking and The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cooking 2, cookbooks filled with such traditional Southern recipes as the Gooey Butter Cake also known as the Chess Cake (a variation of the Chess Pie recipe, popular in Texas). The cookbooks were very successful as well, and she has since published two more. She has appeared on QVC many times and went on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2002.
Deen's relationship with Food Network began in 1999, when a friend introduced her to Gordon Elliott. He took her through the city doing a series of Doorknock Dinners episodes. She would also appear on Ready, Set, Cook!. Deen got to shoot a pilot named Afternoon Tea in early 2001. Food Network liked it but didn't have a place for her yet. An American trend toward comfort food, perhaps influenced by the 9/11 attacks, led to Food Network's giving Deen her own show, Paula's Home Cooking, which premiered in November 2002.
She remarried on March 6, 2004, to Michael Groover, a tugboat pilot in the Port of Savannah. Michael has two children, Michelle and Anthony, from a previous marriage. The wedding and preparation were documented by Food Network and aired in late 2004.
Paula made her film debut in Elizabethtown, starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. In the movie, she plays the aunt of Bloom's character, and her cooking is showcased heavily. The film premiered on October 8, 2005. A special, Paula Goes Hollywood, premiered on Food Network in conjunction with the film's premiere.
Following the example of other Food Network chefs, Paula launched a lifestyle magazine called Cooking with Paula Deen in late 2005.
Paula's Home Cooking was being taped in Millbrook, New York (according to her magazine's debut issue), at the home of Gordon Elliott, the show's executive producer. Paula mentioned in an interview aired on the March 13, 2006 edition of The Daily Buzz that the next batch of episodes of her show will be taped at her home in Savannah, Georgia. According to the first of those episodes, actual production at her new Savannah home began in November 2005.
A televised biography of Deen was aired on an episode of the Food Network's Chefography program in March, 2006.
Paula's latest show entitled Paula's Party was first broadcast on the Food Network in the Fall of 2006.
"You know it's a good recipe if it starts with a stick of butter." --from the Paula's Home Cooking episode titled Cajun Cooking.
"If there's any way to add a calorie, Paula can do it." --from the Paula's Home Cooking episode titled Bed and Breakfast with Jimmy Carter.
"Never trust a skinny cook"
- The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook (1998)
- The Lady & Sons, Too!: A Whole New Batch of Recipes from Savannah (2001)
- The Lady & Sons Just Desserts: More than 120 Sweet Temptations from Savannah's Favorite Restaurant (2002)
- Paula Deen & Friends: Living It Up, Southern Style (2005)
- Paula Deen Celebrates! (2006)
- pauladeen.com Paula's new official website
- The Lady & Sons Restaurant Official Website
- Paula's Home Cooking show website at FoodNetwork.com
- Cooking with Paula Deen official magazine website
Categories: American chefs | Food Network personalities | American food writers | Butter | American film actors | People from Albany, Georgia | Women writers | Agoraphobic celebrities | 1947 births | Living people