Bravo’s Chef Roblé Ali defends Paula Deen: ‘I don’t think she’s a racist’

Chef Roblé Ali gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the high-energy, hectic life of being a celebrity chef, on his Bravo reality series, Chef Roblé and Co.

During an interview with theGrio, Roblé discussed his fellow celebrity cook Paula Deen and the backlash she’s received after admitting that she’s used the n-word and other racial slurs in the past.

Over the course of this week, Deen’s contract with the Food Network was not renewed, she was dropped by Wal-Mart, Target, QVC, and Home Depot, in addition to having her name stripped from four buffet restaurants owned by Caesars.

“I think it’s sad. It’s a really unfortunate situation,” Roblé said when talking about Deen. “I personally forgive her. I have no hard feelings. She apologized and I think her apology was sincere. I accept her apology. If I saw her, I would go up to her and give her a hug.”

“She’s going through a lot. She worked really hard to get where she is, and because of a couple of mistakes that she made, she’s losing everything that she built.”

Roblé, who now is in the second season of his culinary-based reality show, admits that sometimes a kitchen for a high-end catering company or restaurant can be a lot like a “locker room,” where inappropriate jokes and comments are often made.

“We say things in the kitchen that are not appropriate all of the time. That’s just the culture of a kitchen. We’re not using racial slurs, but sometimes saying some borderline inappropriate jokes,” he said.

The question that remains on everyone’s mind is what’s next for Paula Deen? And will she be able to save her multi-million dollar food empire?

Roblé says he is not certain whether or not Deen will be able to rebound from her career set-back, and believes being in the public spotlight ultimately requires a high level of responsibility.

“Celebrity chefs should be held to the same standards of any other public figure. I don’t think Paula Deen’s a racist, I don’t think she’s a bad person. I think she’s made a mistake and now she is unfortunately paying for it.”

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