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Paula Deen holding up a dish
Photo via Instagram

What happened to Paula Deen?

Where is the Southern chef?

The Food Network has always been a fun, inspiring place where we can learn to cook, watch amazing chefs make dishes we’d be nervous to attempt, and tune into some friendly competition shows. But while we all bow down to Ina Garten and want to know more about Bobby Flay’s dating life, there is one former Food Network star who we haven’t heard about in a while.

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Paula Deen was part of a horrible scandal around a decade ago when it came out that she used a racial slur several times. According to TV Insider, Deen was let go from the Food Network in 2013. While there was a lot of media coverage of Deen’s offensive remarks, what has she been doing since then?

Where did Paula Deen go after her scandal?

While Paula Deen was fired from The Food Network, she has continued to be active in the food scene. According to Taste Of Country, people can dine at the restaurant Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. There are four locations: Nashville, Branson, Myrtle Beach, and Pigeon Force. The menus include meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, catfish, country fried steak, and sides like fried okra, candied yams, and collard greens.

Also according to Taste Of Country, she has a long list of cookbooks and also runs Paula Deen Magazine. In fact, while we might have thought that Deen wouldn’t put out any cookbooks after 2013, she has kept going. Her most recent, Love & Best Dishes, was published in 2023. Before that, At The Southern Table with Paula Deen came out in 2017 and Paula Deen’s Southern Baking hit shelves in 2019. She also had a Fox Nation cooking show called At Home With Paula Deen, a radio show and a podcast called What’s Cooking With Paula Deen. She even appeared on Dancing With The Stars, which was an odd move. Deen wouldn’t be on our list of people we want to see on DWTS.

It might be surprising to see that Paula Deen has over 500,000 Instagram followers and that she still shares recipes for Southern food like Easy Gooey Butter Cake on social media and online. She posts bright photos of herself and her food on her Instagram regularly, and if people didn’t know what had happened, they might have no clue there was ever a scandal. Knowing the disturbing things she said, it’s jarring to see her posts about the best foods for summer grilling season and when she wishes her followers happy holidays.

In the years since her scandal, Paula Deen seems to have been pretty quiet (besides being active on Instagram). Considering the disgust that many feel over her actions and words, that makes sense. However, her sons Jamie and Bobby Deen have hosted their own Food Network shows since 2013. In 2016, the brothers hosted Southern Fried Road Trip, to name just one.

Before being fired, Paula Deen was one of those Food Network faces who everyone knew, along with Giada DiLaurentiis and Emeril Lagasse. She started her TV career with her show Paula Deen’s Home Cooking, which aired from 2002 to 2012, and she also hosted Paula’s Best Dishes and Paula’s Party. But after her scandal, her food didn’t taste so sweet, and it was hard to want to follow her culinary career.

Before Paula Deen was removed from the Food Network, she was sued in 2012. According to Entertainment Weekly, Bubba’s Oyster House’s manager Lisa Jackson alleged that the work environment was a terrible one, and alleged that Deen’s brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers watched inappropriate adult content during work hours. Jackson also alleged that Hiers made an antisemitic remark toward her, and that he and Deen used a slur.

While we can’t say we know the exact amount of money Paula Deen has today, it does seem that the scandal impacted her earnings. CNN reported in 2013 that thanks to her retail shop and her restaurants Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House and The Lady and Sons, she would make around $3 million a year instead of millions more than that.

How did Paula Deen respond to the scandal?

Photo via NBC

In 2013, Paula Deen made things even worse when she did an interview with Matt Lauer for Today and said she should have kept her Food Network job.

Deen said, “everyone should be treated equal” and “Would I have fired me? Knowing me? No.” It was odd to hear her say this given the fact that she admitted to using a racial slur many times in her life.

In 2014, she went on Today again and said “I disappointed myself.” She said she was “so sorry” and added, “Words are so powerful. They can hurt. They can make people happy. Well, my words hurt people.” Of course, there’s absolutely no excuse for Paula Deen’s words, and saying sorry after the fact doesn’t change anything and it doesn’t make it alright.

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Aya Tsintziras
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance writer at We've Got This Covered who has been writing about pop culture since 2014. She has a Masters of Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University and enjoys writing about TV dramas, horror movies, and celebrities. When not working, she's reading a thriller novel, catching up on The Real Housewives, and spending time with friends and family.