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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Buckhead was ground zero for gossip, celebrity sightings, and the city’s social scene. And when you were responsible for banging out 30 inches of Atlanta’s bold-faced names for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s popular "Peach Buzz" column, you scoured for scoop 24/7.
The National Enquirer got the scoop, but since then everyone from the American Bar Association Journal to Gawker jumped on details revealed in a video deposition given by celeb chef Paula Deen in a harassment suit filed by a former employee. The butter-loving cook’s reported admissions that, “of course,” she’s used the N-word in the past, and she once pondered hosting a plantation-themed wedding, understandably, set both legacy media and social media aflame.
This month Johnnie Gabriel releases her second cookbook, Second Helpings (Thomas Nelson, $24.99). Her first, Cooking in the South with Johnnie Gabriel (2008), has sold more than 50,000 copies. She and her husband Ed own Gabriel’s Desserts, a Marietta cafe and bakery that has garnered national attention—thanks in part to cross-promotion by Johnnie’s famous cousin, Paula Deen.
Before Deen’s sparkly blues, pearly whites, and colorful ways with butter brought her national fame on the Food Network, she was known to Georgians as the proprietress of Savannah’s fiercely popular home-cooking restaurant, The Lady & Sons.