Back in 1993, the Food Network hit the airwaves. Originally called TV Food Network, the channel really got into its groove after a few years and launched the careers of numerous celebrity chefs. But what are the biggest Food Network names doing today? Wonderwall.com is investigating, starting with one famous chef who's celebrating her 73rd birthday on Jan. 19, 2020 — Paula Deen. Paula was one of the most popular Food Network stars ever thanks to her show "Paula's Home Cooking," which showcased her phenomenal (and largely unhealthy!) Southern dishes. Wondering what she's up to today? Keep reading to find out…
"Paula's Home Cooking" ran from 2002 until 2012 and earned Paula Deen a Daytime Emmy Award for best lifestyle host in 2007. Paula received criticism for her unhealthy recipes, which famously featured heaps of her favorite ingredient — butter! — and in 2012 revealed she'd been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes years earlier (she proceeded to lose a significant amount of weight by changing her diet). But it was her scandals that made the channel part ways with the star. She admitted to using the N-word during a lawsuit deposition, resulting in the Food Network terminating her contract. After the network cut ties, Paula popped up on TV screens a few more times. She competed on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2015 and served as a guest judge on "MasterChef." Professionally, she launched a website and two shows on the rural-focused cable channel RFD-TV — "Positively Paula" and "Paula Deen's Sweet Home Savannah." The cook also continued to work at her popular restaurants, opening her most recent venture in 2018 — Paula Deen's Family Kitchen in Fairview, Texas. She has two sons — Jamie and Bobby — from her first marriage, and has been happily married to Michael Groover since 2004.
Emeril Lagasse first graced the Food Network during its inaugural year in 1993 when he hosted "How to Boil Water," then went on to land his own show, "Essence of Emeril," a year later in 1994. That was followed by his other hit series, "Emeril Live." Being on the Food Network made him a household name and had people everywhere yelling "Bam!" and "Kick it up a notch!" in the kitchen.
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Emeril Lagasse's "Emeril Live" ran for a decade, coming to a close in 2007. "Essence of Emeril," which originally aired from 1994 to 1996, came back from 2000 to 2007. The chef didn't completely leave TV, however, instead switching gears to host things like "The Emeril Lagasse Show" on Ion Television in 2010 and Hallmark Channel's "Emeril's Table" in 2011. "Emeril's Florida" ran on the Cooking Channel from 2013 until 2016, but more recently, he did "Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse" for Amazon, which won him his first Daytime Emmy for best culinary program in 2017. Aside from popular shows and cookbooks, Emeril has also cultivated a lucrative merchandise business with products ranging from pasta sauces and salsas to kitchen knives and electrical appliances. Emeril also runs successful restaurants in four cities — New Orleans, Las Vegas, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Miramar Beach, Florida. He's been married to third wife Alden Lovelace since 2000. They share two children together and currently reside in Florida.
For those of us who aren't as skilled in the kitchen, Sandra Lee's "Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee" was a breath of fresh air when it debuted on the network in 2003. Her brand of cooking involved using a majority of premade store-bought items paired with fresh ingredients. So what's Sandra up to today?
Sandra Lee's unique approach to cooking resonated with TV viewers. She had a second series on Food Network debut in 2009, "Sandra's Money Saving Meals," and has released 25 books including a memoir in 2007, "Made From Scratch." Her first show also inspired a magazine, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade, in 2009. Sandra won a Daytime Emmy in 2012 for best lifestyle/culinary host for her work on "Semi-Homemade Cooking." That same year, she moved over to the Cooking Channel with new shows "Sandra's Restaurant Remakes" and "Sandra Lee's Taverns, Lounges & Clubs." Though her original Food Network show ended in 2011 with its 15th season, Sandra has been back on the channel for specials like 2016's "Sandra Lee's Haunted Halloween." Sandra split from her first husband, Bruce Karatz, in 2005, and that fall started dating New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. After 14 years together, the two announced in September 2019 that they'd broken up: "Over the recent past, we have realized that our lives have gone in different directions and our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship," they said in a statement.
Back in 2001, a little-known cook named Rachael Ray joined the Food Network family with her wildly popular series "30-Minute Meals."
After launching her career on the Food Network, Rachael Ray stuck around for 11 seasons, with her show ending in 2012. She's had multiple shows on the network since, including "Rachael's Vacation" in 2008 and a short-lived Latin cooking show she executive produced called "Viva Daisy!" that same year. In 2012, she also starred on "Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off" with fellow Food Network star Guy Fieri. Aside from popping up on the Food Network, the chef also launched her own talk show in 2006, "The Rachael Ray Show," after finding a larger audience after appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." She has a popular cookware line and introduced the Nutrish line of pet food in 2008, with proceeds going to her Rachael's Rescue charity to help at-risk animals. She expanded to interior design with a line of sheets, blankets and coverlets with WestPoint Home in 2007 and the Rachael Ray Home Collection in 2016. And, like many of her fellow former Food Network stars, she's also penned numerous cookbooks and launched her own magazine. Rachael has been married to John M. Cusimano since 2005.
Bobby Flay rose to fame in the '90s on the Food Network, appearing on 14 cooking specials and shows over the years. What is he up to today?
Some of Bobby Flay's most successful shows on the Food Network continue to run, including "Beat Bobby Flay" and "Worst Cooks in America." He also starred on hits like "BBQ with Bobby Flay," "Boy Meets Grill," "Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction," "Throwdown! with Bobby Flay" and "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." He's also appeared as himself on the game show "Pyramid" in 2003, on an episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 2005 and in the film "East Broadway" in 2006. More recently, he's popped up as himself on "Younger" in 2016 and voiced a character in "Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost" in 2018. Offscreen, he has numerous successful restaurants including 19 locations of his Bobby's Burger Palace, multiple locations of Mesa Grill, and a Bobby Flay Steak and Bar Americain. When it comes to his personal life, Bobby has been wed three times with his most recent marriage, to actress Stephanie March, ending in 2005. He's been linked to actress Helene Yorke since 2016.
Pat and Gina Neely were first discovered by Food Network star Paula Deen after her sons, Bobby and Jamie Deen, featured their Nashville restaurant, Neely's Bar-B-Que, on their show "Road Tasted." They later appeared on Paula's show "Paula's Party," and shortly thereafter launched their own program on the network — "Down Home With the Neelys." So where are they today?
After finding success with their own show, Pat and Gina Neely took over "Road Tasted" from Jamie and Bobby Deen. They also wrote a cookbook in 2009, "Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook." They switched gears and dabbled in reality television, appearing on an episode of "Wife Swap." But sadly, Pat Neely and Gina Neely went their separate ways in September 2014. They share two daughters. Pat hosted the game show "Save to Win" on The CW from 2016 to 2017, and these days is active on social media where he continues to share recipes. He remarried in 2017, tying the knot with Tamika Parks, with whom he had two more children. As for Gina…
After her success on the Food Network, Gina Neely transitioned to a life offscreen — save for an appearance on the Bravo reality show "To Rome With Love." Still single, she now works as a motivational speaker and philanthropist and lives in Atlanta with her two daughters.
Tyler Florence has been a Food Network staple since 1999, which is when he started hosting the popular series "Food 911." Where is he now?
Food Network devotees know Tyler Florence is still on the channel and that he's starred on numerous shows over the last two decades — from "How to Boil Water," "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" and "Bite Club" to "Globe Trekker" and "Food Court Wars." These days, he can still be seen hosting "The Great Food Truck Race" and "Worst Cooks in America," but also has taken his love of food off the small screen. Aside from writing cookbooks, Tyler has opened restaurants in Northern California — the Wayfare Tavern in downtown San Francisco, Rotisserie & Wine in Napa and El Paseo in Mill Valley. Tyler, who has an adult son from his first marriage, wed his second wife, former Miss Wyoming Tolan Clark, in 2006. They have two kids.
First hired as a food stylist by the Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis quickly made a name for herself after getting her own show, "Everyday Italian," which debuted in 2003.
Giada De Laurentiis's time on the Food Network was lengthy. She hosted "Everyday Italian" until 2011 but also popped up on other shows on the network over the years. She started hosting "Behind the Bash" in 2006, then the following year started "Giada's Weekend Getaways." Later that year, she had a two-part special, "Giada in Paradise," and in 2008, she won her first Daytime Emmy for best lifestyle host for her work on "Everyday Italian." Like many other Food Network stars, Giada wrote cookbooks, launched her own line of kitchen supplies (for Target in 2010) and opened her own restaurant, GIADA, in Las Vegas in 2014. She now has another restaurant in Vegas, Pronto by Giada, and opened a restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, called GDL Italian by Giada. She's also worked as a voice actress on the children's show "Handy Manny" in 2009, "Pixie Hollow Bake Off" in 2014 and "Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost" in 2018. The chef's 11-year marriage to Todd Thompson ended in 2014. The two share daughter Jade, who was born in 2008.
Eddie Jackson won Season 11 of "Food Network Star" but audiences already knew him from his NFL career. After winning, Eddie hosted 2015's "BBQ Blitz," a short-lived Food Network show, and "Kids BBQ Championship," which ran for two seasons from 2016 to 2017.
Though he doesn't have a show on the channel now, Eddie Jackson hasn't cut ties with the Food Network. He's starred on the channel's web shows "Eddie Jackson's Game-Day Playbook" and "Fitness Playbook" and more recently popped up on the channel in 2017 for the "Christmas Cookie Challenge" special. He often made appearances on "Good Morning America" from 2016 until 2018. Eddie's also a proud food truck owner (his truck is called Caribbean Grill) and bills himself as the Fit Chef, emphasizing the importance of working out.