Disgraced chef Paula Deen has stepped back into the spotlight for the first time since the racial slur scandal that caused her cooking empire to come crashing down.
Deen chose Houston's Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show for her first appearance, where approximately 1,500 fans gathered to cheer her on. Deen choked up when the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Deen told the crowd, "These are tears of joy, y'all. I've said all along that the one place I'd want to make my first step back out is Texas. Y'all's hearts are as big as your state."
Deen went on to give the first of two cooking demonstrations with sons Bobby and Jamie Deen, and is slated to appear on Jamie’s Food Network show, “Home for Dinner with Jamie Deen” on Sunday.
The beleaguered former Food Network personality saw her reputation badly damaged in June after former employee Lisa Jackson accused her (and her brother, Bubba Hiers) of making racial slurs, sexual harassment and abusive treatment.
A judge dismissed the racial discrimination suit in August, after determining that Jackson was an “accidental” victim at best, because she’s white.
All other aspects of the lawsuit have now been dismissed as well, which could point to a settlement between the parties.