One-on-One with Paula Deen

You have an amazing story. Can you share how you overcame the challenges that you faced?

Like I shared in my biography, I just decided one day to take responsibility for myself and my happiness. I had to work hard for it! What I have today is 20 years of small steps, and I never could have imagined that I would one day be here!

What advice would you give to folks today that are struggling through this challenging economic time?

Be patient, and regroup your strategies, and how you live your life. Change doesn't happen overnight! I recommend taking smaller steps in the right direction, so it doesn't seem so overwhelming.

Looking back, what early experiences in your life helped to shape you into the cook that you are today?

My upbringing. I come from a family who loved to be together, and showed their love through cooking.

You inspire so many with your courage, grace and talent—who inspires you?

People I meet everyday from every walk of life. In my travels I have been privileged to meet all kinds of people who have experienced more than I could fathom. Their strength inspires me.

What is it about Southern cooking that just makes it ?comfort food? Probably the culture that drives the recipes. The ingredients aren't fancy, but they are real to everyone and bring us back to a time when life wasn't as complicated.

Do you ever dine at your restaurants? What's your favorite on the menu? I don't get too much of a chance to stop by anymore unfortunately. I love all the foods, but my instinct is definitely meat and potatoes!

Can you talk about your boys and what family means to you? My boys are everything to me. I am so proud of the men they have become. They are honorable people and I'm so blessed to have a wonderful husband and extended family. Needless to say, my grandson Jack is the apple of my eye, and I am happy to report Jamie and Brooke are giving me another grandchild this spring!

Where is your favorite place in the South to spend a weekend away?

My home!

What was your best vacation ever?

Again, my home! When you travel as much as I do, there is no better place than home.

Tell us three things you think everyone should do when visiting Savannah.

Aside from visiting Lady and Sons and Uncle Bubba's, they should take a trolley tour in historic district, walk through Forsyth Park, and go antiquing, one of my favorites!

You have been given the titles amazing cook, restaurant owner, book writer, T.V. host and movie star ? what's next?

Great Grandmother!