Paula Deen kicks off national tour in Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Paula Deen says she can't think of any place she'd rather be than in East Tennessee.

The celebrity chef, known for her southern cuisine, kicked off her "Paula Deen Live" tour Saturday night at the LeConte Center.

It was the first of 20 shows where she talks with fans and cooks her favorite dishes.

When a fan yelled out that they loved her, Deen responded by saying, ""I love you, too darling. Thank you. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Because I tell you why. I've got sense to know if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be standing here."

Deen opened a retail store in Gatlinburg Friday. She's also working on a restaurant that'll be located on The Island in Pigeon Forge.

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