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SBWFF 2011: Paula Deen's Gospel Brunch Soaks Up the Sins of Saturday Night

Paula Deen and Maryel Epps
Paula Deen and Maryel Epps
David Samayoa

Some folks live by "sin on Saturday, repent on Sunday." Paula's Down Home Cookin' Gospel Brunch soaked up the sorry effects of hard living during Saturday's SBWFF events. They were absorbed by the sheer volume of pork, beef, cornbread, and pie and by the force and emotion of Maryel Epps's gospel singing. And there was, of course, some hair of the dog: whiskey, mint juleps, and Georges Duboeuf wines. The cavernous ballroom was full, but the food on the buffet tables kept on coming until the very end. It was all a little over-the-top, just like Paula Deen herself.

Photos after the jump...

Paula Deen -- along with Cat Cora, an emotional Maryel Epps, and a fan -- talks about the many miracles in her life. Deen's husband, Michael Anthony Groover, has apparently heard this story many times before.
Paula Deen -- along with Cat Cora, an emotional Maryel Epps, and a fan -- talks about the many miracles in her life. Deen's husband, Michael Anthony Groover, has apparently heard this story many times before.
David Samayoa

Pants-dropping and raunchy jokes were absent this year. Rather, it was a feel-good fest more in the vein of Joel Osteen. Deen proclaimed the goodness of God, and Epps sang that Deen was a living witness. "Manifest your wealth, manifest your dreams, whether you're a size 2 or
22," Epps improvised while folks with iPhones and cameras clustered around Deen.

Festival organizer Lee Brian Schrager announced the brunch had sold out three hours after tickets went on sale. I scored some gratis tickets to the Sunday-morning extravaganza. Here are some pics:

Rick Tramonto's shrimp and grits "bacon and eggs"
Rick Tramonto's shrimp and grits "bacon and eggs"
David Samayoa
Rick Tramonto and crew serve shrimp and grits.
Rick Tramonto and crew serve shrimp and grits.
David Samayoa
Corporate chef Scott Popovic served up prime strip roast with fried green tomato and black eyed peas.
Corporate chef Scott Popovic served up prime strip roast with fried green tomato and black eyed peas.
David Samayoa
The cavernous room at the Loews
The cavernous room at the Loews
David Samayoa
Myron Mixon (Jack's Old South, Unadilla, Georgia) serves up whole hog.
Myron Mixon (Jack's Old South, Unadilla, Georgia) serves up whole hog.
David Samayoa
Myron Mixon's pork and ribs
Myron Mixon's pork and ribs
David Samayoa
Joseph Lenn (The Barn, Blackberry Farm, Tennessee) cooked up chicken and malted waffle dumplings with a poached egg.
Joseph Lenn (The Barn, Blackberry Farm, Tennessee) cooked up chicken and malted waffle dumplings with a poached egg.
David Samayoa
Joseph Lenn of the Barn at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee
Joseph Lenn of the Barn at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee
David Samayoa
Alex Guarnaschelli was gracious about photos. "It's mean to make chefs work an event Sunday morning."
Alex Guarnaschelli was gracious about photos. "It's mean to make chefs work an event Sunday morning."
David Samayoa
Maryel Epps
Maryel Epps
David Samayoa
Tim Love (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas) dances to the gospel sounds.
Tim Love (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas) dances to the gospel sounds.
David Samayoa
Tim Love's beef short ribs with anasazi bean stew and fresh ricotta
Tim Love's beef short ribs with anasazi bean stew and fresh ricotta
Trina Sargalski
Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country NYC served up classic fried chicken with pimento cheese biscuits.
Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country NYC served up classic fried chicken with pimento cheese biscuits.
David Samayoa
SBWFF 2011: Paula Deen's Gospel Brunch Soaks Up the Sins of Saturday Night
David Samayoa
Cat Cora says she calls Deen her southern aunt: "She sends me a Smithfield ham every Christmas."
Cat Cora says she calls Deen her southern aunt: "She sends me a Smithfield ham every Christmas."
David Samayoa
Alex Guarnaschelli was gracious about photos. "It's mean to make chefs work an event Sunday morning."
Alex Guarnaschelli was gracious about photos. "It's mean to make chefs work an event Sunday morning."
David Samayoa
SBWFF 2011: Paula Deen's Gospel Brunch Soaks Up the Sins of Saturday Night
David Samayoa

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