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Paula Deen Makes First Public Appearance in Three Months

Embattled TV chef Paula Deen fought back tears as she as greeted by cheers and a standing ovation from a crowd of over 1,500 during an appearance at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Houston on Saturday.

The event was Deen’s first public appearance since being ousted on the Food Network after admitting to a racial slur.

“These are tears of joy y’all,” she told the throngs of fans, some of which paid up to $400 to attend the special event.

“I’m sure you know, unless you’re living under a rock the last few months have been difficult,” she told the audience. “It was an opportunity to learn. I learned a lot about myself and my business. I just want to thank y’all from bottom of my heart.”

Deen and her sons participated in a VIP meet and greet along with a book signing. Both events Saturday  were sold out.

In late June, the Food Network dropped the controversial celebrity chef from its programming lineup in the wake of a deposition that recently surfaced in which she is quoted expressing racist sentiments and using the “N” word.

Deen subsequently apologized for her remarks, saying ““I want to learn and grow from this. Inappropriate and hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable.”

Deen had been a star attraction on the cable channel since 1999, where she built a multimedia empire around herself that extended to restaurants, cookbooks and other merchandise.

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