As the son of Southern cooking's grande dame Paula Deen -- and now her partner in the iconic Savannah, Ga., eatery The Lady and Sons -- Jamie Deen knows all about good food. So when it came time to ask for his now-wife Brooke's hand in marriage, Deen went to his kitchen and whipped up ... egg salad.
"Egg salad is her favorite thing to eat on," he tells Zap2it, laughing. "People know my family's history -- and I've been so fortunate to travel and eat everywhere -- but I made egg salad for my wife on the night that she said she'd marry me. So if people don't understand that we mean it when say we're plain folks, they only have to hear my engagement-night menu to know we appreciate the simpler things in life!"
It's that family philosophy that led Deen to create "Home for Dinner With Jamie Deen," premiering Saturday, June 16, on Food Network, which allows him to gather his clan and friends to cook and eat, while teaching overscheduled families to break out of what he calls the "nugget rut" and create quick, inexpensive and healthy meals that even the littlest members of the family will enjoy.
"It's most important to me to be the best husband and father that I can be, and it really changed our routine when Jack and Matthew were born," Deen explains, "So we have tips and tricks for everybody to make dinnertime not only an easier part of their day but also the most enjoyable."
Filmed on Savannah's Tybee Island, "Home for Dinner" features the entire Deen clan, including Brooke and the boys, Paula, and her other son Bobby, lending a hand in the kitchen. And Jamie wouldn't have it any other way.
"I'm really proud of our little family," he says, "We started with $200 23 years ago and to think that we each have an independent program on television is unbelievable. Just the excitement and the pride that I take from seeing my family and all of our hard work paying off is a dream come true."
What are you currently reading?
"I've just finished the autobiography of Evil Knievel, who was a hero of mine when I was a kid. It was super good!"
What did you have for dinner last night?
"Jack had gymnastics and swim, and I had a softball game, so I made Matthew's favorite dinner, which is spaghetti with a turkey meat sauce. I could cook it up and hold it, so Jack could eat after his activities. But if Matthew Deen does not eat by 5 o'clock, there is hell to pay!"
What is your next project?
" 'Home for Dinner'!"
When was the last vacation you took? Where and why?
"We went down to the Atlantis in the Bahamas. It's so kid-friendly -- and it's only two hours from Atlanta. If you're traveling and you can keep it under two hours, that makes Mommy and Daddy happy!"
Photo/Video credit: Food Network