Paula Deen resurfaced in Texas on Saturday for her first public appearance since the June scandal, which cost her numerous endorsement deals and her contract with The Food Network.
The celebrity chef received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining show in Houston, prompting the 66-year-old to break down in tears, according to People.
“These are tears of joy, y’all,” she said. “This is my first time out in three months… The one place I wanted to make my first step out was in Texas. You are forgiving folks with hearts as big as your state.”
Adding, “We all experience pain in some way, but pain is also a good thing because it makes you grow.”
She then joined sons Jamie and Bobby for a cooking demo, at the end of which she approached a cameraman, leaned in towards his camera lens and said, “I’m back!” while grinning, the mag reported.