Embattled food personality Paula Deen has chosen Houston as the site of her attempted comeback.
Deen is expected make her first public appearance since her fall from grace at the MetroCooking Houston event. The Food Network declined to renew its contract with Deen and major sponsors dropped her after she admitted to using the N-word and was accused of racial discrimination, but she's counting on Houstonians to welcome her.
The racial discrimination lawsuit against Deen was just dismissed Tuesday, but that's not likely to change public perception or immediately re-boost her earning power.
If it all seems like a step down in prestige from last year, well that's life after Deengate.
On Sept. 14, Deen will present two cooking demonstrations ($63 general admission, $95 reserved seating) and pose for pictures ($140) with show attendees in the Reliant Center. Note that paying for a photo does not also provide admission to the cooking demo.
Will true Deen-o-philes still go after the $400 Paula Deen VIP tickets that include the photo, autograph, swag and the closest possible seating at the demonstration? Both VIPs and regular photo takers are invited to a brunch that features Deen's recipes, but the cooking diva herself will not be there.
If all that seems a little too expensive, Deen's sons Bobby and Jamie will host a barbecue where they will serve food based on their recipes and pose for pictures. Paula will drop by.
Other presenters at the celebrity theater include American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, actress Debi Mazar and husband Gabriele Corcos, and Food Network personalities Sunny Anderson and Terry French. Legendary Houston Oilers Dan Pastorini and Earl Campbell will also host demonstrations.
If all that seems like a step down in prestige from last year's presenters of Giada de Laurentiis and Jacques Pépin, well, that's life after Deengate.