Last season’s Orange Is the New Black finale gave us a glimpse of arriving inmate Judy King, the celebrity chef sentenced to time in the slammer for tax evasion. Show creator Jenji Kohan said the character was inspired by Martha Stewart, who did five months for obstructing justice in 2004. Recently the real-life tastemaker responded, saying she doesn’t watch the show because “it’s not as good as the real thing.” But is Paula Deen a fan? Because OITNB writers seem to have thrown a dash of that controversial cooking star’s story into the mix. Here, we separate foodie fact from fiction.
There’s a taste of Stewart …
In episode nine, we learn King’s jailhouse name is “J-Kizzle”; Stewart said hers was “M. Diddy,” although inmates supposedly called her the “Contraband Queen” for hoarding eggs and crab apples. Hardly a crime compared to the VIP treatment King gets: While Stewart was part of the camp’s cleaning crew, King doesn’t do squat until Healy forces her to teach a no-knives, practically ingredient-free cooking class. Both women did end up with their photos in the tabloids: Stewart, in the New York Daily News; King, in Us Weekly, snapped by a drone and accompanied by the headline, “The Mother Theresa of Litchfield,” for supposedly blessing Red’s vegetable garden. While kinky King, who’s married with a lover, makes Luschek have sex with her as payment for getting Nichols sprung from the SHU, and later has a threesome with him and Yoga Jones while high on molly, single Stewart was, as far as we know, celibate during her time in the can. Though there was that one sex-adjacent incident: The lifestyle mogul was rumored to have interrupted inmates getting it on when she wanted a workout.
… and a dollop of Deen.
When an old ’80s TV show of Southern charmer King conversing with a shuckin’ and jivin’ black puppet named Chitlin’ Joe surfaces on YouTube, it’s likely a nod to the Deen deposition that became public in 2013 in which the Georgia native admitted to using the “N-word.” Soon after, an African-American cook who may have deserved much of the culinary credit for one of the former Food Network star’s restaurants, served up a similar story. While Deen never did time for her crimes, she certainly was punished, losing her endorsements, book deal, and network show. King, on the other hand, tries to salvage her reputation by kissing Cindy while Poussey snaps a photo the inmates then sell to a tabloid.