Food & Drink

Deen brothers cook their way, focusing on healthier lifestyles

Food Network stars Bobby, left, and Jamie Deen will do two shows Saturday at the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show in Lexington.
Food Network stars Bobby, left, and Jamie Deen will do two shows Saturday at the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show in Lexington.

When Jamie and Bobby Deen take the stage Saturday at the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show, they won't be cooking like Mama.

Although their famous mother, Paula Deen, has made a change in her diet, due to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, her fans still think of her as the queen of butter. When she came to Lexington in April 2007, she spoke to a sold-out crowd of 1,600 who craved more butter recipes. Her sons have made an impact on America's culinary stage with their own Food Network shows and cookbooks, but their style of cooking is more about promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Jamie Deen, 46, said their presentation would be about "what my brother and I are known for — shenanigans and tomfoolery." They will prepare four or five recipes using Kentucky Proud ingredients, including bourbon.

Deen will talk about his latest book, Jamie Deen's Good Food, which is about food that tastes good and is better for you. "I wanted to go with a simple title that speaks to where I am in my life," Deen said. He and his wife, Brooke, have two sons, Jack, 7, and Matthew, 2.

The busy father plays an important role in family meal preparation.

"Anybody can find success in preparing their own meals," he said. "You have to take time to plan and shop. You can't expect a magic elf to pop out of the pantry. We go to the grocery a couple of times a week and we attack it as a job. By the time you order food (at a restaurant) you can easily prepare a home-cooked meal for the kids.

"I don't have all the answers, but you figure it out. The smartest people work at it."

Deen said his first solo cookbook is "really a peek inside my life and the way I like to cook and eat."

Bobby Deen, 43, obviously enjoys his onscreen cooking episodes and the notoriety that comes with book signings, but he prefers a live audience. "Because of the immediate feedback," he said. "Mom always said she loved to cook because of the immediate gratification of serving someone a meal."

At Saturday's show, they might — or might not — answer questions from the audience about their mother's recent bad press. Through their representatives, the Deens declined to discuss their mother's recent travails during this interview.

But the brothers are eager to talk about their mom's cooking and memories of growing up in Paula Deen's kitchen — before they all became culinary stars.

Bobby Deen said he was looking forward to this Kentucky visit and cooking with foods for which the state is known.

"Jamie and I have been to Kentucky many times," he said. "When we were a lot younger we drove the entire state, (while traveling) from Savannah to Chicago, to go to baseball games.

"In the South, we all eat so similar, like sweet tea and corn bread."

But there's only one Kentucky product that Bobby Deen craves: Modjeskas. On a recent visit, he toured the Bauer's Candies factory in Lawrenceburg and took home a lot of the caramel-wrapped marshmallows. He said he still has a few stashed away.

Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show

What: Event featuring more than 100 exhibitors, including specialty food companies, caterers, restaurants and kitchen-accessory manufacturers in The Marketplace. Local and regional chefs and culinary students from Sullivan University will conduct cooking demonstrations.

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 26

Where: Lexington Center, 430 W. Vine St.

The Deens: Jamie and Bobby Deen will present shows at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Rupp Arena.

Tickets: $20.

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