Paula Deen takes the stage at Houston's Metropolitan Cooking Show

Houstonians welcome Paula Deen as she makes her first public appearance in 3 months

HOUSTON - Celebrity chef Paula Deen made her first public appearance in three months at Houston's Metropolitan Cooking Show.

"The one place I'm so glad I made my first step back out was Texas," said Paula Deen.

A crowd of nearly 1,500 paid for special tickets to see Deen take the demonstration stage.

The first 15 minutes included cheers from the crowd and tears from Deen.

Deen addressed her recent public relations nightmare by saying, "I'm sure you know, unless you're living under a rock the last few months have been difficult. It was an opportunity to learn. I learned a lot about my self and my business. I just want to thank y'all from bottom of my heart."

The Houston crowd gave her a big Texas welcome with a roaring standing ovation that brought Deen to tears.

"These are tears of joy y'all. The one place I'm so glad I made my first step back out was Texas," said Deen.

Deen and her sons participated in a VIP meet and greet along with a book signing. Both events Saturday morning were sold out.

Lucas Boucher flew in from Los Angeles just to meet Paula Deen.

"I started getting teary eyed and I just her we got her back and I said, 'I'm sorry you're going through this.' She was crying," said Boucher.

Others made it point to bring signs to show the celebrity chef how much she's loved.

"I'm hoping she comes back. I'm hoping she gets another TV show, more books," said Deen fan Kelly Eldridge.

It appears her first public appearance was a success.

"Hi, I'm back," Deen said to the on-stage camera and the crowd stood cheering.

Paula Deen will be back for a second appearance on Sunday at 12:45. Currently, tickets are still available.

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