Bobby Deen might not be as famous as his butter-loving mother, former Food Network star Paula Deen, but he’s on the fast track to becoming infamous.
Deen, who is also a television chef, was featured in a photo his mother tweeted out on Tuesday afternoon, wearing brownface as the pair dressed up as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The photo, which has since been deleted, sparked outrage across social media and once again reignited claims of the Deen family’s racist tendencies.
Deen nearly lost her entire cooking empire in 2013 when a former employee sued her claiming sexual and racial discrimination. The employee claimed Deen had hired black waiters to dress like “slaves” for a plantation-themed wedding and, during court proceedings, Deen admitted to using the n-word regularly.
But who exactly is Bobby Deen and will this latest social media miscue have a long-lasting effect on his TV career? Here’s what you need to know:
1. Deen is the Second Son of Paula & Was Born in 1970
Deen was born on April 28, 1970 in Albany, Georgia, the second son of former TV chef Paula Deen. A self-proclaimed “Georgia boy,” Deen was a frequent presence in his mother’s cooking career for years and has spent the better part of the past decade forging his own path.
He and his older brother, Jamie, have published four of their own cookbooks and recently expanded into a line of spices, barbecue sauces and even T-shirts. But while cooking will always be his passion, Deen is also focused on the healthier side of the industry and has come up with his own training regime to battle all the butter in those family recipes.
2. He Operates the Family Restaurant – The Lady & Sons – With His Brother
While Deen’s star was made on TV, he still holds true to his roots and continues to work at the family restaurant, The Lady & Sons, in Savannah, Georgia. In fact, he operates the restaurant with his older brother, and fellow TV personality, Jamie.
The restaurant began in 1989 when Deen started making food out of her home and both of her sons worked delivering bag lunches to area businesses. In 1991, it expanded into a full service restaurant, operating out of a Best Western hotel. Then, in January 1996, the restaurant moved to its own location and the Deen sons have been operating it ever since.
3. He Married Claudia Lovera in 2013
After being named one of People’s 50 Most Eligible Bachelors in 2006, Deen announced his engagement to Claudia Lovera in April 2013 on the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends.”
The pair married that July in a ceremony at his mother’s home. But while the first ceremony was beautiful, the couple wanted its own moment, out of Paula’s shadow, and earlier this year Deen and Lovera staged a second wedding in Panama. Deen explained the decision:
“Her family lives in Panama. Claudia is from Venezuela and it’s a rough place, so most people do everything they can to leave there. So her family is in Panama … but she has friends and family all over the world, too. She is Catholic, and I was raised Southern Baptist. Life is a series of lessons.
4. Deen Premiered His Own Show, ‘Not My Mama’s Meals’ on the Cooking Channel in 2012
While his mother may have been known for butter, lots and lots of butter, Deen has built his own reputation on a, slightly, healthier track. “Not My Mama’s Meals,” premiered on the Cooking Channel in 2012 as Deen actually remade his mother’s recipes with healthier alternatives.
The show features everything from full meals to snacks and even desserts, all with far less butter involved.
5. He & Jamie Began Filming ‘Southern Fried Road Trip’ for the Food Network in April
Bobby made his return to the Food Network earlier this year when he and his brother, Jamie, began filming the new show “Southern Fried Road Trip.” The show, which has not yet received a premiere date, features the brothers driving through the South, sampling local fare and learning to make the signature dishes of various restaurants.