SBWFF 2011: Paula Deen's Gospel Brunch Soaks Up the Sins of Saturday Night

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David Samayoa
Paula Deen and Maryel Epps
Some folks live by "sin on Saturday, repent on Sunday." Paula's Down Home Cookin' Gospel Brunch soaked up the sorry effects of hard living during Saturday's SBWFF events. They were absorbed by the sheer volume of pork, beef, cornbread, and pie and by the force and emotion of Maryel Epps's gospel singing. And there was, of course, some hair of the dog: whiskey, mint juleps, and Georges Duboeuf wines. The cavernous ballroom was full, but the food on the buffet tables kept on coming until the very end. It was all a little over-the-top, just like Paula Deen herself.

Photos after the jump...


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David Samayoa
Paula Deen -- along with Cat Cora, an emotional Maryel Epps, and a fan -- talks about the many miracles in her life. Deen's husband, Michael Anthony Groover, has apparently heard this story many times before.
Pants-dropping and raunchy jokes were absent this year. Rather, it was a feel-good fest more in the vein of Joel Osteen. Deen proclaimed the goodness of God, and Epps sang that Deen was a living witness. "Manifest your wealth, manifest your dreams, whether you're a size 2 or
22," Epps improvised while folks with iPhones and cameras clustered around Deen.

Festival organizer Lee Brian Schrager announced the brunch had sold out three hours after tickets went on sale. I scored some gratis tickets to the Sunday-morning extravaganza. Here are some pics:

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David Samayoa
Rick Tramonto's shrimp and grits "bacon and eggs"

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David Samayoa
Rick Tramonto and crew serve shrimp and grits.

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David Samayoa
Corporate chef Scott Popovic served up prime strip roast with fried green tomato and black eyed peas.

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David Samayoa
The cavernous room at the Loews

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David Samayoa
Cat Cora talks to a fan.

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David Samayoa
Mint julep to cure what ails ya

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David Samayoa
Myron Mixon (Jack's Old South, Unadilla, Georgia) serves up whole hog.

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David Samayoa
Myron Mixon's pork and ribs

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David Samayoa
Joseph Lenn (The Barn, Blackberry Farm, Tennessee) cooked up chicken and malted waffle dumplings with a poached egg.

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David Samayoa
Joseph Lenn of the Barn at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee

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David Samayoa
Alex Guarnaschelli was gracious about photos. "It's mean to make chefs work an event Sunday morning."

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David Samayoa
Maryel Epps

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David Samayoa
Tim Love (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas) dances to the gospel sounds.

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Trina Sargalski
Tim Love's beef short ribs with anasazi bean stew and fresh ricotta

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David Samayoa
Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country NYC served up classic fried chicken with pimento cheese biscuits.

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Trina Sargalski

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David Samayoa

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David Samayoa
Cat Cora says she calls Deen her southern aunt: "She sends me a Smithfield ham every Christmas."

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David Samayoa
Alex Guarnaschelli is a good sport about pictures, although it looks like it's too early in the morning for her.

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David Samayoa
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1 comments
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Bryon Bella
Bryon Bella

Wow! I would have liked to be there. Paula Deen is everywhere these days if you go to almost any store from paper plates to cookware. She seems like such a kind and friendly person. I knew someone that saw her at the airport and she looked and acted the same as she seems on her show. It would be nice to catch this event on Food Network in HD on my DISH Network employee 722 HD DVR. Of course I would record it in HD because I don’t have a flexible schedule to watch when it airs. It’s nice she could break her son’s into TV too. The Christmas special a few years ago was nice hearing about how they got by being so poor with her two sons. I wish them all the best.

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