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The statuesque first girlfriend, dressed all in black (including black rain boots), was busy coordinating relief efforts on her smartphone, even as she stood in line."I am trying to get food trucks to deliver to food banks in Queens," said Lee, host of the "Semi-Homemade Cooking" show.
"Everyone's suffering.""No one has power," said Lee, an on-screen chef and the de facto first lady of New York state.
"I think he makes it up," she says, "'cause nobody can be that nasty."But no matter how the critics carp, America loves Sandra Lee —and so does Angelina Jolie.
"I liked it that she made my no-bake birthday cake," Lee says.
Now, six years later, Lee calls them "my semi-homemade daughters." "Everybody's cool with it," she says. Last Christmas, she decorated the Cuomo-Lee home with a staggering seven trees.
"I absolutely feel like they're mine when they're with me."We just have a good time together," she says of her life with Cuomo's kids, who live with her and the governor part-time at their home in Westchester County. It's a big deal." She says she cooks "mommy meals" like pot roast and apple pie — although not the crust. "The family room had three different ones to create a Christmas-scape." She laughs. I gotta put this creative energy into something." As a couple, Cuomo and Lee have maintained a very low-key profile.
"One of my favorite things to do with Michaela at Christmastime is to come here and have hot chocolate," she says.
Michaela is the 14-year-old daughter of Andrew Cuomo, Lee's boyfriend, who also happens to be the governor of New York. She spent all day taping a Halloween special for her hit Food Network show Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee.
Meanwhile, she says, "I feel like I can handle my own, and I feel completely equal.""When and if that time comes up" to marry, Lee says, "we'll do it, but right now everything is just good." In their free time, they ride around on his Harley-Davidson.
Her cooking style is unapologetically user-friendly. Products like Jiffy corn-muffin mix, Cool Whip, and canned frosting are among the recommended ingredients.
Photographed by Douglas Friedman Opinionated celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has been scathing in his attacks on Lee, declaring a TV segment where she made a "Kwanzaa cake" out of packaged foods "eye searing." Lee, unfazed, says she doesn't think Bourdain actually believes what he says.
Photographed by Douglas Friedman It was at a party in the Hamptons.
Cuomo was in a period of personal transition: He had split from his wife of 13 years, Kerry Kennedy, in 2003 amid allegations of her infidelity and was in political limbo after withdrawing from the 2002 New York gubernatorial race.