Food Fight

With the rise of the celebrity chef and popularity of such tours as the Guy Fieri Road Show and any Anthony Bourdain appearance, it was probably inevitable that eventually chef and promoter would clash.

And it appears it’s happening. Food Network star Paula Deen canceled a six-city tour that was to begin Feb. 20, blaming a promoter that “was unable to meet its financial obligations,” according to a statement.

“We’ve done many of these shows around the country with other promoters and they’ve been wonderful,” Paula Deen Enterprises publicist Nancy Assuncao said. “But there were apparently too many financial and logistical issues for this promoter [Promark Productions], to handle and we had to make a painful decision after they could still not perform after giving them additional time to meet their obligations.”

But the promoter in question disputes Deen’s version of events, according to North Carolina’s Durham Herald-Sun. Deen was to have made two appearances at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

“We are deeply disappointed that Paula Deen has canceled her participation in the Celebrity Chefs Tour,” Promark Productions said in a statement cited by the paper.

“We share that disappointment with the sponsors, venues, culinary schools and media partners in our tour cities who have worked tirelessly to deliver an exciting, high quality, multilayered experience for the thousands of Paula Deen fans who have purchased tickets,” the statement continued. “It is unfortunate for all of us that with less than a week before the first show, Ms. Deen canceled the tour.”

The next move will presumably be made by the lawyers for each.

Other celebu-chefs in the Celebrity Chefs Tour series include Tyler Florence and The Neelys, neither of whom have canceled their own upcoming shows.

Deen said her team is working on rescheduling the tour with an “alternative plan with new promoters and we hope to announce the details in coming weeks.” The canceled shows were also to feature Deen’s sons Jamie and Bobby.

Celebrity Chefs Tour’s Web site says the company arranges appearances for TV chefs including the Neelys and Tyler Florence, in addition to Paula, Jamie and Bobby Deen.