Local celebrity chef sticks up for Paula Deen

SHARE OUR STRENGTH Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. finds himself in hot water (just parboiled, actually) for Facebook remarks in support of Paula Deen, whose prior racist remarks have turned off the oven on her TV career.
SHARE OUR STRENGTH Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. finds himself in hot water (just parboiled, actually) for Facebook remarks in support of Paula Deen, whose prior racist remarks have turned off the oven on her TV career.
Posted: June 26, 2013

UH-OH, the star of "Big Daddy's House" could lose his black card.

Aaron McCargo Jr., who won Season 4 of "Food Network Star," has extended a gloved oven mitt toward embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen.

She's been sizzling like a chicken drumstick in hot grease ever since court documents revealed that she admitted to using the n-word and being racially insensitive in the past.

The Food Network dropped her on Friday and, yesterday, Smithfield, the Virginia-based pork company that sells a ham with her name and face on it, also dumped the butter-loving Southern chef.

On Sunday, McCargo, who's from Camden but now lives in Cherry Hill, took the risk of publicly speaking up for Deen on Facebook saying, "Paula has always been very helpful and supportive throughout my career, and as her friend I'm saddened to see that she is going through a tough time right now."

McCargo, who hopes to open a restaurant in Camden, continued, "We are all human and we should never be quick to judge anyone. . . . I'm asking that [my fans] give her the benefit of the doubt as she goes through this difficult patch. Paula is in my thoughts and prayers."

He also referenced his Facebook post on Twitter. I asked his publicist yesterday if she would ask him if he was afraid of backlash, and she said that he wouldn't comment on that specifically.

Meanwhile, reaction to McCargo's Facebook post was mixed with some folks praising him for being the first celebrity chef to sympathize with Deen, while others scolded him for standing up for Deen, who in addition to admitting to using the n-word once planned a true, Southern-style plantation wedding complete with African-Americans dressed up as slaves.

"Well, what I would really like is a bunch of little n-----s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around," Deen said, according to court documents. "Now that would be a true Southern wedding, wouldn't it? But we can't do that because the media would be on me about that."

As offensive as all this is, like McCargo, Tattle is willing to give her a pass considering she's 66 years old and grew up in Georgia, which back then was infamous for its mistreatment of black Americans. We're frankly more upset about the artery-clogging chow that Deen spent years urging Americans to eat, despite the fact that she herself had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

"I'm your cook, not your doctor," Deen was known for saying in that thick drawl of hers.

But once she was hired by a drug company to promote its diabetes medication, Deen began promoting healthy eating. That's more offensive than Deen's replying "yes, of course" when asked if she's ever used the n-word.

High-flying jeans

No, those weren't mom jeans that daredevil Nik Wallenda had on when he successfully walked across the Grand Canyon while balancing on a tightrope.

The maker of Buffalo David Bitton Jeans has stepped forward to take credit for the relaxed-fit denims that Wallenda wore for his stunt.

In fact, the company announced in a news release yesterday that it plans to rename the particular jeans that Wallenda wore during his crossing the "Nik."

'Downton' gets Giamatti

Guess who's joining the cast of "Downton Abbey." Paul Giamatti, best known for his role in the HBO miniseries "John Adams," will play the brother of Cora (played by Elizabeth McGovern). Can't wait.

Lucas gets hitched

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas, 69, has married his longtime love, Mellody Hobson, 44. She's president of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based investment-management firm.

People.com reports that the wedding took place in Marin County, Calif., where Lucas' Skywalker Ranch also is located. If Hobson, 44, looks familiar, it's because she's also a contributor to "Good Morning America."

- Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

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