Dishin' with the Deens

Paula Deen did something this summer she hadn’t done in a very long time: she took the summer off.

“It was the longest span I’ve not worked in 22 years,” she says. “It was my time of getting back in touch with Paula.” Come fall, however, Paula got right back to work. On October 11, Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible goes on sale. Paula calls this book “my proudest achievement so far.”

With more than 300 recipes, it’s full of tips and illustrations “actually showing how to do things,” explains Paula. “Hopefully this book will fall in the category of classic cookbooks like the Joy of Cooking—something people will want in their kitchens for a long time.” This fall also continues with the third season of the Real Women of Philadelphia, the online cooking competition with Paula and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. As for Jamie and Bobby, Savannah’s favorite sons each have a Food Network show set to air in the spring. Jamie’s show will be shot in Savannah and will focus on “busy families trying to come up with family meals. … We’re going to break outside of the kitchen and show off the beauty of Savannah”—which is important to Jamie, who famously walked away from the Food Network’s 2006 hit show Road Tasted to spend more time with his family.

“I chose family first in all things. If I had stayed, I would have missed the first year of Jack’s life.” Jamie, now 44, and his wife, Brooke, were “blessed again” last May with their newest addition to the family, son Matthew. Enthuses Paula about her grandsons (including her stepdaughter’s newborn, Henry), “I’m in hog’s heaven!” Bobby, too, is pumped up by the possiblities: His show, which will be shot in a studio kitchen in Brooklyn, will involve taking a lot of his mom’s dishes and, he explains, “trying to improve them by taking things away. So, I may cut the butter in half, or instead of sweetened condensed milk, use skim milk.” Says Paula, “He’s a workout fiend. He’s 41 and built like a brick house.” Bobby laughs, “My mother is my biggest cheerleader. She admires the fact that I have embraced a lifestyle different from what I grew up with. Don’t get me wrong—I love fried chicken and mac and cheese, and cobbler and collard greens. I’ve just learned that moderation is key.” Each show will have a special guest, and Bobby is hoping he can play up the interview aspect so that “the show can be tweaked into something completely new. I want to continue to do TV, but I don’t necessarily want to do food TV forever.” He stresses that the show will be very personal. “You’re going to see me in this show—my life.”

Also up for Bobby is The Chew. He is the food and sports correspondent for this new ABC daytime food and lifestyle show, and he’ll continue dividing his time between New York, Savannah and L.A., where his girlfriend of two years, actress Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly), works.