A Southern belle with a penchant for the richest and most indulgent foods, Paula Deen was born and raised in Georgia, where she learned to cook the traditional Southern fare that would eventually make her famous. She parlayed her love of cooking and food into a restaurant and catering business, The Lady and Sons, in 1996, and the next year she published a cook book based on the rich fare available at her establishment, such as cheesy meat loaf and fried chicken, and gooey butter cake. She soon became a popular media personality, appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show and on various series on the Food Network, which eventually offered Deen her own show, Paula's Party, where she instructed viewers on how to make such heart-stopping meals as bacon-wrapped hotdogs.
Biography by Cammila Collar
- Began struggling with agoraphobia in her teens.
- Launched her catering business in Savannah with $200.
- In 1999, USA Today gave her restaurant, The Lady and Sons, the Most Memorable Meal of the Year Award.
- Played Orlando Bloom's aunt in the 2005 film Elizabethtown.
- Penned a memoir in 2007 titled Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin'.
- Served as the grand marshal of the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade.
- In January 2012, she revealed that she has Type 2 diabetes.
- Does charity work with the Bethesda Academy, Feeding America and Smithfield Foods Helping Hungry Homes.
- Among the variety of products launched by Paula Deen Enterprises: cookware, dishes, sauces, furniture and greeting cards.