Friends say the shamed chef is "glad" to start over – and reappear on the Food Network
Just one day after a federal judge dismissed the racial discrimination case against Paula Deen, the shamed southern chef stepped out with her Aunt Peggy Ort and a friend at one of her favorite Savannah, Ga. eateries for lunch.
While digging into fried chicken, a baked sweet potato and veggies, “she was her usual friendly self,” says Sweet Potatoes Kitchen owner Steve Magulias. “She was glad to have the racial part of the case dismissed and that part behind her.”
Since it was revealed that in a deposition made public in June that Deen, 66, used a racial slur, the TV chef – who lost her contract with Food Network among other business partners – has led a quiet life at home in Savannah.
“She’s doing okay,” a producer friend recently told PEOPLE. “She’s a fighter and she’s got a family who supports her.”
In fact her son Jamie, 46, will soon have his mom pop by for an episode of his Food Network show Home For Dinner.
“Just got word #HomeforDinner with mom is being aired in September. I’ll keep y’all posted. But, you know, watch it anyway!” Jamie posted on Twitter.
A source close to the situation confirms, “Paula is in some of the episodes but they were all filmed before her contract wasn’t renewed.”
Whether or not Deen will make a full-time comeback to TV remains unclear, but her goals do not. Says Magulias: “She’s just going to keep doing what she’s been doing: serving people and helping in the community.”
• Reporting by STEVE HELLING and POLLY STRAMM
For more about the shocking new twist in the Paula Deen scandal and how her marriage is doing, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE