Paula Deen Bio

Start with one part Southern charm, add a dash of "hey y'all" and pour in a bountiful dose of cooking expertise, and you have the recipe for Paula Deen, host of Paula's Best Dishes and Paula's Home Cooking.

Paula Deen is a self-made success story who learned the secrets of Southern cooking from her Grandmother some 30 years ago. She had no idea at the time that the love for Southern cooking her grandmother instilled in her would lead to a life-long career.

Newly divorced and with only $200 to her name, Paula packed up her two sons and moved from Albany, Ga., to Savannah. There she started her own catering business called The Bag Lady, where she prepared fresh lunches to sell to downtown businesses and doctors' offices.

Most days Paula rose in the early morning to grill chicken for her popular chicken salad. Every Thursday night she cooked until the wee hours to create a mouthwatering Friday barbecue special, Boston Butt. Her local specialties, such as chicken pot pies, barbecue sandwiches, lasagna and banana pudding, caught on with the Savannah business crowd and quickly became the talk of the town.

In 1990, Paula opened her own restaurant in the south side Savannah Best Western. Called The Lady and Sons, it served breakfast, lunch and dinner in a small space that could seat 42 people maximum. The restaurant remained in that location for four years, where Paula and her sons built their business with a core of faithful patrons. In 1995, Paula jumped on the opportunity to relocate to downtown Savannah, where The Lady and Sons has been ever since.

The Lady and Sons has gathered accolades from critics and media alike. The most important honor for Paula was when the food writer for USA Today recognized The Lady and Sons as having the Most Memorable Meal of the Year for 1999.

Paula's business continues to flourish with a series of successful cookbooks: Paula Deen and Friends: Living It Up, Southern Style, The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, The Lady and Sons Too and The Lady and Sons Just Desserts.

Paula brings a southern touch to Food Network with her shows, Paula's Best Dishes and Paula's Home Cooking.

Paula Deen Behind the Scenes

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Paula in the Kitchen

On her shows Paula's Best Dishes and Paula's Home Cooking, Paula invites viewers into her home and shows them how to make her favorite Southern recipes. She's seldom the sole cook in the kitchen — Paula often has guests come and join her, including her husband, her sons, her girlfriends and even celebrity acquaintances.

Photo By: Photographer: Chia Chong ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

Serving Up the Southern Classics

Biscuits are a big part of any Southern meal, and Paula's recipe is a classic that her entire family enjoys. To make the recipe, see Food Network Magazine's step-by-step guide.

Photo By: Squire Fox

Hostess With the Mostess

Entertaining is part of Paula's Southern charm. She hosts family and friends in her home year round, no matter the occasion. Here she plates tomato tarts right out of the oven.

Media Maven

When she's not taping episodes, you'll find Paula working on recipes for her cookbooks and magazine. She also contributes recipes to Food Network Magazine like this white-bean chili. It's made with chicken breast for a healthier take.

Family First

Paula's two sons, Jamie and Bobby, are very important to her. They've been by her side every step of the way. Here Paula visits Jamie's cooking show, Home for Dinner With Jamie Deen. Jamie cooks his mom a dinner for two that includes tilapia foil packets, herbed couscous and a Georgia peach dessert. Get all the recipes here.

Photo By: Paul Nurnberg ©2012, Television Foof Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

How It All Started

On Bobby's cooking show, Not My Mama's Meals, Paula and Bobby reminisce about The Bag Lady, a catering business she ran out of her home selling lunches to local businesses. Here the two prepare healthier versions of her famous lunches, like pimento cheese sandwiches and gooey butter cake. Get all the recipes here.

Photo By: Janet Rhodes ©2011, Cooking Channel, LLC

A Seasoned Star

Paula made an appearance with her husband, Michael, and her son Bobby on Season 8 of Next Food Network Star to help mentor the Star hopefuls.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

In the Food Network Studios

Paula joined fellow stars from Food Network to celebrate the holiday season. Browse some of the best behind-the-scenes moments from the promo, which was taped in the New York studios.

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