Paula DeenPaula Deen has managed, almost single handily to pull the south out of a steady diet of gravy, biscuits and pinto beans, and for some of us, has brought the word â€œy'allâ€ to the level of fingernails scratching a chalk board. Though the south isn't likely to rise again, southern comfort food has now been put on the food map by Paula and her sons.
Paula is an excellent example of a person who changed a debilitating handicap into a major asset. Plagued with panic attacks that led to agoraphobia, Paula started turning her attention toward cooking, which was something she could pour herself into without leaving home. In time, she divorced her husband, Jimmy Deen, and moved to Savannah, GA with her sons. At that point, with an improvement in her agoraphobia, she secured a job in a bank and later started a catering business. By taking baby steps, Paula became one of the foremost southern chefs in the country, flying from state to state for speaking engagements, promotional tours and filming her TV shows. These days Paula's cooking shows are filmed in her own home kitchen. Her southern-style home with its veranda overlooking the water and boat dock is the perfect cozy setting to create and test her culinary extravaganzas. Loaded with charm and southern comfort, this home is the perfect venue for large-scale entertaining as well as intimate family get togethers. The kitchen is fabulous as one would expect, and takes the experience of telecommuting to a level all its own. Having also started her own line of furniture, the furnishings in her home are sophisticated yet warm and welcoming, reflecting her special personality. Paula lives in her Savannah home with her second husband, Michael Groover, a Savannah tugboat captain, who she married in 2004. Forbes estimates her annual income at $4.5m.