Paula Deen is an American celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author famous for her culinary tributes to traditional American Southern cooking.
Although Deen has been a successful restaurant operator since the early 1990s, she first shot to international renown with her 2002 show Paula’s Home Cooking.
From there, she experienced a meteoric rise to fame, building a food empire that stretched across cookbooks, magazines, and television programs–though she has also been dogged by controversy.
How Much is Paula Deen Worth?
Paula Deen’s net worth is about $16 million.
Note that this number represents both her reserves of cash and the value of her businesses, her investments, and her personal property, minus any debts or liabilities she carries.
While some of Deen’s net worth comes from the Savannah, Georgia restaurants she operates, much of it comes from her ventures in food writing, television, endorsements, pre-made desserts, and even film appearances.
Paula Deen Career Highlights
Paula Deen has a career that has seen epic highs and lows.
She started small with her mega-empire: following a tumultuous divorce, Deen was left with two children to support at age 42, and to make ends meet she opened a catering service.
Eventually, Deen became the operator of the Savannah, Georgia Best Western; after five years, she took the restaurant independent in the bustling hub of downtown Savannah.
Just a year later, she self-published her first cookbook, The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, sharing the restaurant’s recipes.
Soon after, she was discovered by food journalist Gordon Elliott, who introduced her to the Food Network–which, in turn, collaborated with Deen to create her first television show, Paula’s Home Cooking.
From there, Deen’s career went into the stratosphere: she appeared in the film Elizabethtown, hosted television series including Paula’s Party and Paula’s Best Dishes, made multiple appearances on Oprah, released a memoir, and released a lifestyle magazine called Paula Deen Magazine.
That said, even the brightest star must fall, and Deen is no exception.
Deen has been at the heart of heated controversies: she has received vigorous criticism from journalists and chefs alike for her heavy use of sugar and butter, especially in recipes for children.
But it isn’t just her cooking that’s taken a hit.
In 2013, Deen’s career was engulfed in a public relations firestorm when she was sued for racial and sexual harassment, followed by bungled apologies and the revelation of past racist incidents.
Following these events, Deen lost many of her sponsorships and partnerships, including with the Food Network.
Nonetheless, Deen’s career has not entirely gone up in smoke. She continues to own and operate two restaurants in Savannah with her sons and hosts TV and web series including Positively Paula, Paula Deen’s Sweet Home Savannah, and Love & Best Dishes with Paula Deen.