Cooking star Paula Deen visited Sevier County Thursday to mark the second anniversary of Paula Deen's Family Kitchen restaurant in Pigeon Forge. 

Deen also stopped at her Gatlinburg location. She said the community is special to her, and a place she and her family used to take vacations.

"This town's been around a long, long time and we want to keep it that way. Many, many people from all over the world get to enjoy this section of the country. My children's father liked to refer to it as God's country," she said.

Deen said she's committed to helping people rebuild, adding that many of her employees were affected by last November's fires. 

Deen was part of Dolly Parton's "Smoky Mountains Rise" telethon in December which raised money for the My People Fund to benefit people that lost their homes in the fires.