She may have been shunning the spotlight for the past nine months, but Paula Deen proved she still knows how to stir up a lot of excitement!
At the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami, an adoring crowd showered the exuberant Queen of Butter with encouragement at her chicken-and-dumplings cooking demonstration.
It appears her comeback is up and running! After suffering a crushing fall from grace last summer when she was dropped by the Food Network for admitting she'd used a racial slur, Paula has just inked a new $75 million deal with Najafi Companies, a private investment firm run by Jahm Najafi.
"She is going to be highly visible. You can't put that light in a box. It's gonna come out," Paula's youngest son, Bobby Deen, insists, hinting that his mom may end up with a cooking show on the Web.
"It won't be on the Food Network," he says with a grin.
Those close to the controversial star are guaranteeing that it's more than a solid investment for Najafi's business.
"He saw that my mother was a talented person whose opportunity to work was taken away from her," Bobby shares exclusively with Closer. "He's very smart – and he just got the deal of the century!"
Paula with sons Jamie & Bobby
The 43-year-old, who is a chef himself, adds, "I'm very proud of my mother. What can you do except take your lumps, lick your wounds, move forward and go back to work. And that's where she is now."
"It is like that famous quote, 'Tough times don't dictate your personality, it kind of reveals it,'" son Jamie Deen tells Closer. "My mom is a tough woman. We have always taken the positive out of every challenge that has been thrown our way."
In fact, Bobby believes their mother was unfairly targeted by the press. "It almost felt like a media coup," he says. "Her fans were upset when it happened. People were up in arms. I don't know who it is that doesn't support her."
Paula, for her part, has made peace with her painful past. "We are not looking back anymore. We are only looking forward," she promised her fans.