(Yahoo!) - Paula Deen is back!
The celeb chef, 66, made her first public appearance since settling the racial discrimination lawsuit that practically destroyed her empire, and was moved to tears after receiving a 10-minute standing ovation at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining Show in Houston on Saturday.
"These are tears of joy, y'all," she said. "This is my first time out in three months. … The one place I wanted to make my first step out was in Texas. You are forgiving folks with hearts as big as your state." She added, "We all experience pain in some way, but pain is also a good thing because it makes you grow."
Following her emotional outburst, Deen quickly pulled herself together and, after joining sons Jamie and Bobby for a cooking demo, strutted up to a cameraman's lens and proclaimed, "I'm back!"
The queen of Southern cuisine found herself at the center of a racism scandal in May following the release of a deposition transcript in which she admitted that she had used the N-word in the past. Deen and her brother, Earl "Bubba" Hiers, were sued for racial discrimination and sexual harassment by former employee Lisa Jackson. As a result, she was fired by the Food Network, and lost several lucrative endorsement deals with Sears, Target, and Walmart to name a few.
But judging from the warm response she received from the Lone Star State, it looks like Deen's poised to make a comeback.
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