Paula Deen is joining MasterChef for Season 11. The upcoming season is set to premiere on June 2, according to TVLine. The special season will be titled MasterChef: Legends, including host Gordon Ramsay, Emeril Lagasse, Roy Choi, Nancy Silverton, Masaharu Morimoto, and Deen. The "legends" will help guide 15 contestants through several challenges until the final winner takes home the $250,000 grand prize.
Ramsay will also judge alongside show veterans Aarón Sánchez and Joe Bastianich. All three have been judging alongside one another since Season 9. The new season on Fox will also include new challenges, giving viewers and contestants a new fill of content. One of those new challenges includes an opportunity for one lucky cook to go up against Ramsay in the kitchen.
However, Deen doesn't come without controversy. The long-time television host's contract with the Food Network was not renewed after she admitted to racial slurs. 2013 was the year that viewers and fans had second thoughts about supporting the cook after using the "N-word" and admitted to it. In June 2013 was being deposed during a lawsuit brought against her by her former general manager, Lisa Jackson, who used to work at her restaurant Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah, Georgia. "Yes, of course," she said when admitting she used the racial slur, according to Delish.
She also said, "That's just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the '60s in the south. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior. As well as I do." Jackson also claimed that Deen wanted her Black employees to act like slaves at a wedding she was hosting. "I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America ... after the Civil War, before the Civil War ... It was not only Black men, it was Black women ... I would say they were slaves," she was recorded saying according to Radar.
However, a rep for the cook later told TMZ, "Ms. Deen does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable. She is looking forward to her day in court." Since that year, she's been trying to win back the hearts of many, and while she has gained some success, she has struggled to win others over.