Start your drooling; the South Beach Wine & Food Fest (Feb. 21-24), is right around the corner. Get a head start on your foodie friends when tickets go on sale Monday. High-profile events featuring the likes of Food Network Southern-cooking queen Paula Deen are sure to sell out quickly. We spoke to the so-called Georgia Peach, 65, who is hosting Moët Hennessy’s The Q Feb. 21 at the Delano with her two handsome sons, TV personalities Jamie and Bobby Deen. Paula is still on a (semi) health kick since revealing she has Type 2 diabetes earlier this year.
Do you still get excited about coming down for the fest?
Yes! SoBe is one of the times that my family and I get to travel and cook together. Being around all my friends who cook on the Food Network is a blast. Last year Robert Irvine jumped on stage with me during my demo. South Beach is such a great place — the people are so darn nice. It’s a busy, busy time, but I always love to find a few minutes to get away and take a walk on the beach with Michael [ Groover, her husband]. It’s just beautiful.
What’s the plan?
We’ll be cooking up some of our favorite family recipes — from baked beans and pork to grilling chicken and ham sausage. And you know we love our sides: potato salad, stuffin’ and cole slaw. This should be one of those barbeque dinners that you’ll never forget.
What is your latest news?
I’m in the middle of working on a new [lighter] cookbook that I am so excited to share with y’all. And, my show is for The Food Network is getting ready to start taping once again.
What inspired you to cut your hair?
Jamie Cribbs has done my hair for years here in Savannah is an amazing talent. He always likes to try something new – y’all know how that is. I love it!
Found any new, fun ingredients lately?
I am loving using Greek yogurt. Just a little bit of that makes my recipes taste amazing, and it’s a great substitute for sour cream. Bobby introduced me to it, as he’s using it often in his new cookbook coming out next year.
How are you feeling?
Great. I’m enjoying myself, and every day I am thankful that I’ve lived as long as I’ve had to be able to spend time with my family.
What are your plans for the holidays?
For Halloween, I’ve spent the past week filling my house with pumpkins and having spiderwebs spread across my windows. The grandkids dress up so cute and they know that Granny will be puttin’ on a costume with them too; just not sure what that will be. I’m gonna ask my fans on Facebook for some fun ideas. We’ll be home here in Savannah for Thanksgiving. We love to cook up a big turkey and ham and get the entire family around the table. It is a special time for us all, and we have so much to be thankful for.
Tickets at www.sobefest.com