The celeb chef, 66, made her first public appearance since settling the racial discrimination lawsuit that practically destroyed her empire, and was moved to tears after receiving a 10-minute standing ovation at the Metro Cooking & Entertaining Show in Houston on Saturday.
"These are tears of joy, y'all," she said. "This is my first time out in three months. … The one place I wanted to make my first step out was in Texas. You are forgiving folks with hearts as big as your state." She added, "We all experience pain in some way, but pain is also a good thing because it makes you grow."
Following her emotional outburst, Deen quickly pulled herself together and, after joining sons Jamie and Bobby for a cooking demo, strutted up to a cameraman's lens and proclaimed, "I'm back!"