Paula Deen Returns to South Beach Wine and Food Festival

deen magazine.jpg
Laine Doss
Paula Deen returns to SoBeWFF.
Add one more name to the celebrity roster at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

Paula Deen.

Deen will be hosting a cooking demonstration with her sons, Jamie and Bobby at the Grand Tasting Village on Sunday, February 23, at 4:15 p.m.

See also: Post Diabetes: Paula Deen Talks Sweet Tea, Miami Cruise and Ghosts

The announcement comes as a surprise, since the matriarch of the Food Network cooking family was not scheduled to appear at this year's festival. Indeed, Deen's name is still missing from the SoBeWFF website.

SoBeWFF founder and director Lee Brian Schrager is pleased to welcome Deen back to Miami, saying, "Paula is a longtime supporter of both of our festivals and has helped us raise millions of dollars for charity. We are always looking forward to having her join us on the beach in February."

And, it seems that the Lady, herself, is happily anticipating a weekend of fun, food, and sun. "Paula is looking forward to the annual wine & food festival weekend in February. Festival founder, Lee Schrager, is a longtime friend and his team really does put on the best culinary events," said Elana Weiss, spokesperson for Paula Deen. "Paula cannot wait to see all of her fans who she loves so much while also supporting the efforts benefiting FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality."

Deen's appearance at the festival could signal a major comeback for the celebrity chef after her career took a severe beating in 2013. A controversy regarding the chef admitting to using racial slurs during a deposition for a lawsuit, led to an announcement by Food Network that they would not renew her contract. Several major corporations then dropped Deen from lucrative endorsement deals. In August, a Federal Judge dismissed the racial bias aspect of the lawsuit, and a settlement of the remaining claims was said to be in the works.

See also: Bring Back Paula Deen: Read the Deposition Transcript

Deen, however, managed to maintain a loyal fan base, and a "We Support Paula Deen" Facebook page has over 600,000 "likes".

Deen's Grand Tasting Village demonstrations are always well attended and entertaining. In the past, Deen's appearances have been well attended, with fans eagerly lapping up the Southern chef's onstage antics. In the past, Deen's britches have fallen down and she rode burly celebrity chef Robert Irvine like a pony.

Tickets to the Grand Tasting Village are $225 for the entire day ($275 gets you admission to the GTV, along with reserved premier seating for all culinary demonstration), but frugal fans of Deen have a more affordable way to see the family in action.

The "Afternoon Fix" ticket gives guests access to the Grand Tasting Village on Sunday from 3 - 6 p.m. at the reduced price of $125 -- enough time to sample some wine, get a nosh, and snag a primo seat to watch the Lady and Sons do their thing!

Tickets go on sale Monday, January 27 for the "Afternoon Fix"; but are already on sale for regular GTV access.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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24 comments
DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter

You know he does have point about that Colonel. I never trusted the Colonel. Slaves cooked that chicken. Aint no white man know anything about herbs and spices and gibblits.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

And she didn't even go in black-face.  How modern of her...


Josi Denise
Josi Denise

Maybe food network is realizing all their new "farm" and "southern girl" shows are not ever going to replace Paula's ratings.

Kelly Miller-law
Kelly Miller-law

@ Jay - You are so right. I mean seriously LOOK AT HER!!! If she had claimed that she had never uttered that word, I would call her out on it so quick. An older white blue eyed woman raised in the South. Would anyone ever believe otherwise. But I forgive her and do not believe that she is racist.

Jay Figueroa
Jay Figueroa

P.S. Although I think what Phil Robertson said was heinous (I'm a gay man...so you can imagine) I'm willing to believe he may eventually feel remorse down the line and will change his perspective on things. Why not give Paula Deen the same courtesy?

Jay Figueroa
Jay Figueroa

Are you a Christian man, Bill? If so, don't you believe in forgiving people? Don't you recognize people can change? Again, I'm not saying she isn't guilty of saying some nasty things, but in the world we live in today we're so quick to jump on the keyboard and lynch people. Just sayin'...

Alfonso Lozada
Alfonso Lozada

I went to her restaurant in Savannah. Worst meal I've ever had.

Bill Brock
Bill Brock

Jay, how right you are. If the SoBe Wine and Food Festival loves featuring racists so much, then people shouldn't support them or attend. One issue is, the taxpayers underwrite the festival, and are, therefore, underwriting the support for her (racism).

Jay Figueroa
Jay Figueroa

Listen, I'm not saying the woman didn't say some really stupid stuff, but where are all those people crying "freedom of speech!" like they were for that duck dynasty prick? What about the adage that people change? It was a long time ago. Put the pitchforks and torches down, folks. If you don't like her, don't watch her or see her.

Ezekiel Angulo
Ezekiel Angulo

Nothing like racism to really spice up some food.

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