"Hi, I'm back!"
Paula Deen wooed a Houston crowd Saturday during her first appearance since the revelation that she used a racial slur in the past, according to CNN affiliate KPRC.
The Southern food diva looked straight into the lens of a camera, waved, smiled and winked as a sold-out audience of 1,500 cheered her on during a cooking demonstration at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertainment Show.
After a standing ovation, Deen wiped the tears on her face and told the crowd, "These are tears of joy, y'all. I've said all along that the one place I'd want to make my first step back out was Texas."
"I started getting teary-eyed and I just told her we got her back and I said, 'I'm sorry you're going through this.' And she was crying," said Boucher, who wore a T-shirt with Deen's face imprinted on the front.
Deen's career and public reputation went into a tailspin in June after her deposition in a lawsuit brought by a former restaurant employee was released. In the video, Deen admitted using the "N word" in the past.