PASADENA, Calif., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Celebrity chef, author and TV personality Paula Deen has been named grand marshal of the 2011 Rose Parade festivities in Pasadena, Calif., organizers said.
Deen is expected to ride in the 122nd Rose Parade and toss the coin before the 97th Rose Bowl Game Jan. 1.
"Paula Deen is a true icon and the perfect person to serve as the grand marshal for our theme 'Building Dreams, Friendships & Memories,'" Jeffrey L. Throop, president of the Tournament of Roses, said in a statement Wednesday. "An American sweetheart and a true success story, Paula Deen embodies what it means to build a dream into reality. She has shared her friendships and memories with us all through her down-to-earth cooking and treasured recipes and we can't wait to build memories together with her on New Year's Day."
Deen said she is "thrilled" to be part of "a special American tradition that brings such joy to so many every year."
"In my house, the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game have always been a grand tradition for ringing in the New Year," she said. "To serve as grand marshal is a dream come true and I look forward to sharing the celebration with all of the fans and viewers worldwide."