Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.
Paula Deen has been frying it up for years out of Savannah, Georgia and is now taking her cooking on the road. This Emmy Award-winning personality had plenty to say to ChicagoPride.com.
JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hey, Paula. I heard you just signed with Michaels retail stores.
PD: (Paula Deen) Yes, Jerry, my products are just coming to Michaels. Hopefully everything will be in place the fourth quarter or the first quarter of next year.
JN: Great and you just did something with Walmart also.
PD: Oh yes! Walmart and I have doing business for a couple of years. I have some already prepared desserts with them. I feel really good. I just got through sampling and approving a lot of things for the holidays that are incredibly delicious.
JN: For example what do you have?
PD: Oh my gosh, let’s see. There were two cakes that turned out good, the hummingbird cake and a caramel cake.
JN: I was looking at your website (www.pauladeen.com) and it was making me so hungry!
PD: Listen I had to stop in between interviews and go fix me some breakfast. I was starving after talking about all this damn food! [both laugh] But yeah, I am really proud of those products. People run out of time during the holidays, which is most of us, this is a great way to fill in your parties and meals. They are reasonable which is the beauty…
JN: You have several cookbooks out correct?
PD: I have twelve books out. One of them is not a cookbook but a memoir and another that is my latest one is called Paula Deen’s Savannah Style. It is a beautiful book. It takes people to places that you normally wouldn’t see if you come to Savannah, because they are private residences. My assistant Brandon and I tell people how to achieve a great style that Savannah has in ways that won’t break the bank. You know what I mean?
JN: Yes, of course.
PD: It is a beautiful coffee table book and it has value too because it teaches you things and I love that.
JN: How is The Lady & Sons restaurant going?
PD: Oh gosh, just insane! People come from all over. My boys and I are so appreciative that people want to come here to visit our restaurant and our beautiful city. In Tunica, Mississippi we opened our first restaurant with Harrah’s Casino and is doing phenomenal. I am so excited about opening up in the Horseshoe this coming weekend outside of Louisville, Kentucky.
JN: It sounds like everything is going so well for you right now.
PD: It is going really well. God just doesn’t miss a date blessing me.
JN: Are you going to be a talk show host?
PD: We have considered talk shows. My business manager and I are in conversations with different networks.
JN: You would be great at it.
PD: Thank you. You never know what is gonna turn up or where I will turn up!
JN: I was working down at the Weber Grill restaurant in Chicago and you turned up at a party one time there.
PD: Yeah, what a great little grill is that. Don’t you think everybody has a Weber Grill?
PD: A little black round grill that you can count on like the salt of the earth.
JN: Exactly. Do you want to do more movies like Elizabethtown?
PD: That was such a great experience working for Cameron Crowe. What a fine young man he is. He is the best. You never know. It is not something that I seek out because I am not an actress. I basically had to walk on and be myself. I just had to be an aunt to somebody I didn’t know!
JN: So funny.
PD: I would not seek it out but if someone came to me then I would listen. If that is part of God’s plan then I would certainly consider it.
JN: You are doing this appearance at the Horseshoe Casino in Indiana and bringing in some special guests.
PD: Well, there will be twenty-four people sitting up on stage. They have purchased the premium ticket so they will be served the meal by the chef. It will be fun. I understand it is a real small arena and I love those up close and personal appearances. I like to see the audience.
JN: I was wondering if you are more comfortable now with big appearances after past anxiety?
PD: Well, I had no training, no rehearsal. My first one I just walked out and was just me. It worked. I went on a twenty-year ride with Agoraphobia. But I am closer today to that eighteen-year old girl that loved being the center of attention. If there was something going on onstage I wanted to be right up there with my buddies. I was head cheerleader my senior year, I competed in pageants and just loved all that stuff. My mother and daddy’s premature death just sent me into a downward spiral.
JN: I am so sorry to hear that.
PD: I suffered from Agoraphobia and was just frightened of crowds. When I was forty years old I got up one morning and I heard that serenity prayer. It made total sense to me. I am close to that eighteen-year old girl than I will ever be.
JN: You are awesome and the gays love you.
PD: Yes. I think you get back what you give. I am not judgmental when it comes to that, not at all. People know that. You can’t treat people badly.
JN: Well, we will have to come out to see you at The Venue.
PD: Look me up. See you there, dear.
Paula Deen is at the The Venue, 777 Casino Center Drive, Hammond, IN on September 5th at 4:00 p.m. For ticket information visit www.thevenue-chicago.com.