The butter-worshipping celebrity chef faces criticism as she reveals her battle with type 2 diabetes and her deal with a drug company


Celebrity chef Paula Deen, 65, revealed on the Today show Jan. 17 that she’s been secretly battling type 2 diabetes for the past three years. ”I’m here today to let the world know that it’s not a death sentence,” she told Al Roker. Given that her cooking empire is based on butter, mayo, and cheese, could this be a recipe for disaster? Deen has endured persistent criticism for her unhealthy cooking style — last August, chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain called Deen ”the worst, most dangerous person” on Food Network — but the Savannah-based author and restaurateur has always winkingly reveled in her food’s fat content. Lately, however, her brand appears to be shifting gears. On Jan. 4, Cooking Channel premiered Not My Mama’s Meals, a show in which Deen’s son Bobby tries to lighten up some of her most sinful recipes. And Deen has signed a deal with Novo Nordisk to promote a new campaign called Diabetes in a New Light. ”We’re going to help you to work on still having a full life,” she said on Today, stressing that, in moderation, ”you can have that little piece of pie.” After all, when God gives you lemons, make lemon meringue.