Food Network star Paula Deen is in town today for a few events that
will showcase her culinary skills -- and, of course, her Southern charm.
Deen, 65, will be at MGM Grand Detroit for a private luncheon, a VIP event and the main public event, "An Evening with Paula Deen," during which she will do two cooking demonstrations. Sorry, folks, tickets are sold out for the public event.
The Free Press spoke with the queen of Southern cuisine about her stop in the Motor City. She has been here before, but not for quite some time. She recalled that her last visit was with her ex-husband, who was in the car business. "We went to a new car showing up there," she said.
Here's what Deen had to say about her visit, the latest trends and the controversy sparked by her revelation that she has Type 2 diabetes and announcement that she had become a paid spokeswoman for diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk.
QUESTION: What will you be cooking during your public demonstration?
ANSWER: I am doing Beer in the Rear Chicken. I am hooking up with St. John's Providence Health System, so I am going to be talking about healthier options for you and your family. And that Beer (in the) Rear Chicken (a chicken cooked standing upright on a beer can) is so good, and it's a fun thing to do. It's having fun with your chicken.
Q: What kinds of tips will you be giving folks?
A: Oh gosh, I don't know until the moment. I really like to talk about things that the audience wants to know and is interested in. I really like conversing with the people there ... so it always depends on their questions. Sometimes they want to talk about food, sometimes they want to talk about personal things ... which always makes these events so fun. You just never know. I never know what's going to come out of my mouth.
Q: You have done several of these cooking demonstration events. What trends are you seeing?
A: Personally I am not a trendy person. ... To me, I represent the mothers in the homes across America and I kind of stick to that. That's who I am, that's where I came from ... and my restaurants are the same thing. They're not trendy. They are the tried and true things that kids remember mama and grandma cooking. And I never have been one interested in trendy things. They come and go.
Q: Are you seeing anything fresh or new?
A: I think people are becoming real aware of what's in their foods. Gosh, when I was being raised there wasn't all the chemicals and things they are putting in livestock today and all the preservatives. That was just never an issue. I think people are really sitting up and taking notice. I think they are really opting to go the fresh way and organic.
Q: It has been more than year since you announced you have Type 2 diabetes. I know it was a trying time for you. How do you feel?
A: It was very traumatic for me and for my family. Because a couple of people out there had access to print, they were pretty rough on me. I was so shocked. You know, I didn't ask for this. You know, you have to play the cards that you're dealt. It's not something I did to myself. ... I am one of the baby boomers. We are all to that age where we are facing these kind of problems: high sugar, high cholesterol; we just live long enough that we have to deal with these issues. ... It was heartbreaking and terrible hurting. But I knew I was
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