updated 06/22/2013 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 06/22/2013 AT 10:30 AM ET
Embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen issued a statement thanking the Food Network for 11 “great years” less than 24 hours after the cable channel announced it was dropping its longtime star following her admission that she used a racial slur in the past.
“I have had the pleasure of being allowed into so many homes across the country and meeting people who have shared with me the most touching and personal stories,” Deen, 66, said in a statement released to PEOPLE. “This would not have been possible without the Food Network. Thank you again. Love and best dishes to all of ya’ll.”
The Food Network announced on Friday that it would not renew Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of the month. The announcement comes just days after news that Deen admitted in a May deposition to using the N-word several times in her past.
For more than a decade, Deen shined as one of the biggest stars of the Food Network and earned legions of fans – and some critics – for her brand of hearty Southern cooking.