The son of embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen says his mother is doing well despite the difficult summer.
Appearing on NewsChannel 8's Let's Talk Live, Food Network Star Jamie Deen, elder son of Paula Deen, said his mom is doing fantastic after "an interesting summer."
The Southern celebrity chef lost many sponsorship deals earlier this year after acknowledging that she'd used racial slurs. The Food Network decided to not renew her show, Smithfield Foods dropped her as a spokesperson and her name was removed from buffet restaurants at four casinos owned by Caesar's.
At her first post-scandal appearance in Houston on September 14, Deen fought back tears as the crowd gave her a ten minute standing ovation. "These are tears of joy, y'all," she told the audience.
Now, her son says it's back to business.
"We've had so much tremendous love and support so we're happy to be back out," Jamie Deen said.
On a media tour to promote his new cook book "Good Food," Jamie Deen has defended his mom. "She was just so unfairly persecuted this summer," he said.
"People that know us and love us know who we are," he said. "And our longterm employees - 15, 20 years - you know, both my executive kitchen managers started as dishwashers. They're from a hard, scrabble life from the inner city Savannah. Those guys know who we are. And they love us and we love them."
But her son does not see her appearance in Texas as the start of a big comeback.
"You know, people say, 'Oh, Paula. You're back.' But Mom never really left, you know? We always take blessings from any challenges that we've had in our life. And this summer, we were able to come together as a family," he said. "She spent a lot of time with her grandchildren. She has five grand-babies. And Mom hasn't had a summer off in forever."
So what's next for Paula Deen?
"Momma can do anything she wants," said the son. "She's very smart, you know, to build up our business from $200. She doesn't bow down to challenges. And if she wants to go forward and get back into anything that she wants she can. She's a tough, strong, smart lady."