Paula Deen launching new Web cooking channel
Whether you were in online cooking school or not in summer 2013, you probably heard about the commotion surrounding Paula Deen. The Southern celebrity chef was sued by a former manager at her restaurants in Savannah, Georgia, Lady & Sons and Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House. The lawsuit alleged that Deen committed several acts of racism and discrimination that led to the manager ending her five years of employment at the establishments. The 67-year-old chef admitted during her deposition to using a racial slur toward the manager, prompting the Food Network to drop her shows, “Paula’s Best Dishes” and “Paula’s Home Cooking.” After the ordeal, Deen became a disgrace in the industry, but now she’s trying to pick her career back up by forming her own Web cooking channel.
Earlier this year, Deen began her plan for success by starting a new company: Paula Deen Ventures. It includes all the restaurants, cookware, cookbooks, cruises and other products associated with her name. And now it also includes the celebrity chef’s online network. On her site, Deen announced the details of the new Web series, exclaiming, “Guess who’s going digital, y’all!”
“I’m so excited about my new online Network and can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on,” Deen wrote. “We’re going to have so much fun being together and cooking up some wonderful new and classic dishes. Y’all can get my recipes, tips and cooking anytime you want – this is for you. I can’t wait to crank up the oven and get cooking for the people I love: my family, my friends and my fans!”
About the Web series
For the 90-minute segment, Deen and her cast will embark on a 20-show tour starting with the first stop in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on June 21. Other locations include Savannah, Georgia (Deen’s hometown), San Antonio, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee, but she will also make her way to northern destinations. Each show will feature cooking demonstrations, storytelling and activities for the audience. As she told the Miami Times, there will be musical chairs and the dating game to get the fans excited and involved.
There are some doubts about how well the network will do considering the severity of the fallout after Deen’s use of racial slurs. In fact, many sponsors and companies, such as Wal-Mart and Caesars Entertainment Corporation, have cut ties with the chef. However, international private investment firm Najafi Companies had enough confidence in the celebrity to invest between $75 and $100 million.
Tickets to the live tapings went on sale May 1. Those who want to watch can purchase a subscription to the Paula Deen Network. The network is scheduled to launch in September, during which time a 14-day free trial period will be offered.