The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show Sticks With Celebrity Chef Paula Deen, Despite Controversy

June 26, 2013

Big-name brands such as Target, Walmart and the Food Network have dropped celebrity chef Paula Deen after she admitted during a recent deposition to using a racial epithet in the past.

However, not only are there other retailers, but there also is The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show that have made the choice to stick by her.

Deen is on the schedule as a presenter at The Tiny Kitchen’s MetroCooking Dallas – The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show Sept. 21-22 at the Dallas Convention Center, as well as two other shows this year.

MetroCooking Dallas’ Web site has a statement that firmly stands behind Deen.

“Deen has been a friend of The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show for many years.She has apologized, and we are taking her apology at her word and moving forward accordingly,” show officials said.

They added, “MetroCooking does not condone or believe in the use of derogatory slurs by anyone. This is a nation of forgiveness and second chances. In that spirit, we intend to go forward with the MetroCooking Shows in Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C. as planned with Paula as a presenter. At this time we have no plans to do otherwise.”

Denise Medved, The Tiny Kitchen’s CEO and founder, said the statement was posted June 24 on all of the shows’ Web sites after the company received some calls asking about Deen’s involvement.

“We thought we really needed to verbalize our position,” she added. “Her fans are very loyal. We’ve had more fans calling hoping she stays with the show than those who were less favorable.”

So far, Medved said, there have been no cancellations by exhibitors for any of the shows and only three attendees have asked for a refund.

She added that Deen, who she knows personally and called “kind and funny”, has been a part of The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show since 2007.

Deen is scheduled to perform in the Celebrity Theater both days of the Dallas show, where 5,000 people are expected to see her.

She also is on tap Sept. 15-16 for the Houston show at the Reliant Center and Nov. 2-3 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C.

The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in D.C., which typically draws up to 22,000 attendees and launched in 2006, found success and spread to other cities, including Houston and Dallas, which draw 20,000 and 9,000 attendees, respectively.  

On The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show’s Facebook page there were several comments expressing support for having Deen be a part of the events, although there also were a few who were against it.

One poster said, “Thank you for standing up and not cancelling Paula Deen. Everyone deserves a second chance and forgiveness after they apologize. Looking forward to the D.C. show!”

While another said. “If Paula Deen is there, I won't be.”

Medved said, “We appreciate people have a different opinion and respect that. I personally am one to forgive, forget and move on.” She added that she has made errors in her own professional and personal life and has had the good fortune of people standing by her.

The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show is not alone in supporting Deen. According to news reports, several companies she has current deals with such as Tasty Blends Foods, Landies Candies, Springer Mountain Farms and Sandridge Food Co., to name a few,  all have said they would stay with her.

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