At 10:30 a.m. Saturday the streets of Downtown OWA were empty. But in front of Paula Deen's Family Kitchen crowds of people stood waiting with large shopping bags in hand. Many had been there since 4 …
At 10:30 a.m. Saturday the streets of Downtown OWA were empty. But in front of Paula Deen's Family Kitchen crowds of people stood waiting with large shopping bags in hand. Many had been there since 4 a.m.
They were waiting on Paula Deen, restaurateur, celebrity chef and cookbook author who was scheduled to visit her namesake restaurant for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant and gift shop opened in late 2019 and like many restaurants and businesses struggled through the pandemic. On Saturday, hungry fans filled the tables and waited for their chance to meet Deen in person.
Deen arrived via golf cart and took the time to meet with a few VIP guests. During that time, she took a moment to answer questions from Gulf Coast Media.
Q: With more people being health conscious, are you making changes to any of your old recipes or making any new recipes?
"We are always working on new recipes, but I stay in my lane. I have hopefully brought momma's cooking back to the table. We had gotten away from that eating so much fast food. It is my goal to bring people back and remember when they were safe, and their feet were under their mother or grandmother's table. I don't think momma's cooking will ever go out of style. You can still eat this in moderation and you don't do it every day."
Q: When you are at home, what are some of your favorite dishes that you like to cook?
"Oh my gosh! It depends on who's coming over. If you were coming over to my house I would ask you what you would like me to cook. My children have different requests and that is what they are going to get."
Q: What do you make for yourself when you are home alone?
"Not a whole bunch," Deen said with a giggle. "Yesterday I was home alone and I had a tuna fish salad sandwich with lettuce. My husband makes the best tuna fish salad."
Deen moved on to the gift shop where her adorning fans waited to meet her. A line snaked down the side of the building and spilled into the parking lot. While the event was called a book signing, Deen signed everything from metal décor signs to ceramic sea turtles. Throughout the event, Deen took time to speak with each of her visitors, laugh and take a photo. Grins stretched from ear to ear as guests left with their signed goodies.
Paula Deen's Family Kitchen is located in Downtown OWA in Foley, at 203 North OWA Boulevard, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.