It's the earnestness with which she reviews an Olive Garden that has prompted some people to mock and parody her delivery, and others to think that it must be Onion-like satire. When it went viral and so many people started mocking her, big time chefs and food critics like Anthony Bourdain came to her defense, and she went on the talk show circuit. The journalism award was a lifetime achievement award from her alma mater at the University of South Dakota, so it's not like she got a Pulitzer. It's essentially the journalistic equivalent of the Rebecca Black Friday
video where people parodied it or made fun of it mercilessly, until people felt bad and started supporting her, and she eventually did the talk show circuit. Plus, it's a sweet elderly lady who was genuinely happy about the restaurant opening, so people want to cheer her on for her down-home charm.