Governor Andrew Cuomo’s girlfriend, Food Network chef Sandra Lee, gave an interview in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar in which she discussed her relationship with the Governor and why she’s glad not to be New York’s First Lady. Ms. Lee also dished about beef with Anthony Bourdain, her philosophy on cooking and how she overdoes it during the holidays.
The interview of Ms. Lee, penned by Nancy Jo Sales, begins with the requisite anecdote about eating a lot that kicks off most magazine profiles of beautiful, thin female celebrities.
“Sandra Lee has been working all day, and now she must eat. … Blonde, five-foot-nine Lee, wearing skinny jeans, a blue blazer, and ballet flats, digs into plates of burrata and tuna tartare.,” wrote Sales.
“”I eat eat, nobody thinks I eat, but I eat a lot,” Ms. Lee said.
We’re completely convinced.
Food is Ms. Lee’s business, she hosts several shows on the food network including “Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee,” which debuted in 2003, three years before she met Governor Cuomo. Ms. Lee has also written 22 cookbooks, which have sold more than four million copies and she told Sales about her plans to launch a housewares line.
“I just signed a huge deal with Sears and Kmart — tabletops, linens, sheets, and towels,” Ms. Lee said.
The cornerstone of this domestic empire is Ms. Lee’s “semi-homemade” philosophy, which involves mixing fresh foods with pre-made ingredients.
“I think women today are so overwhelmed and overtaxed. … Nobody makes bouillabaisse from scratch. It’s all a bunch of malarkey. Even the restaurants buy a commercial-grade product,” Ms. Lee said.
Semi-homemade cooking is clearly a hit with homemakers, but Ms. Lee has detractors among her fellow celebrity chefs. Ms. Sales asked Ms. Lee about an interview in which Travel Channel host Anthony Bourdain mocked her show as making audiences feel “special” after they “waddle into the kitchen, open a can of crap and spread it on some other crap … bought at the supermarket.” Mr. Bourdain also referred to Ms. Lee’s much maligned “Kwanzaa cake” as “the most terrifying thing I’ve seen” and “a war crime on television.”
Ms. Lee told Ms. Sales she didn’t think Mr. Bourdain could possibly have meant the things he said about her.
“I think he makes it up .. ’cause nobody can be that nasty,” Ms. Lee said.
Along with telling Harper’s about her personal life with Governor Cuomo and his three girls from his disastrous first marriage who Ms. Lee refers to as “my semi-homemade daughters.” Lee said she spends lots of time hanging out with the girls, cruising with the Governor on his Harley and doing her cooking and decorating in their Westchester home. Last Christmas, Lee said she outfitted their family room with three trees “to create a Christmas-scape.”
Ms. Lee said she’s happy not being New York’s official First Lady and keeping her relationship with Governor Cuomo relatively private telling Ms. Sales, “I have a partner who feels the exact same way as I do about protecting our personal relationship.” She didn’t explain how sitting down for revealing magazine interviews fits in with their desire for privacy.
When it comes to marriage, Ms. Lee also feels no need to make things official.
“I like being independent. I don’t think that marriage means you’re not independent, but right now I’m very comfortable, and I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been. I feel solid. I feel safe. … I was already planted in a world that I’ve flourished in and had my own career in,” Ms. Lee said.
The issue of Harper’s Bazaar featuring the interview of Ms. Lee hits newsstands October 25.