MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. (CBS 2) — She’s a star on the Food Network known for her “tablescape” decorations, her all-American meals, and her trademark call for cocktails.
Now 44-year-old Sandra Lee will be carrying her tablecloths to the New York governor’s mansion as Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo’s girlfriend, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.
Jeanne Marie and Carol David were heading into Chelsea Market, home of the Food Network, on Wednesday. There, Sandra Lee is a big name – and has a bigger paycheck than Cuomo.
So does that make her the breadwinner?
“No pun intended! But I bet you it’s semi-homemade bread!” Marie said, referring to Lee’s renowned “semi-homemade meals.”
Lee’s popularity is rising, with two Food Network shows, a collection of best-selling cookbooks, and a magazine. She’s even won over one of the first daughters, 13-year-old Michaela Kennedy Cuomo, who congratulated her father and his girlfriend exclusively to CBS 2.
“I love her. She’s really nice and everything is good, and I’m glad that he won,” Michaela said.
The couple lives together in a home in Mount Kisco, New York. However, Cuomo will eventually get the keys to the governor’s mansion in Albany, raising questions over whether his girlfriend should be spending the night on the taxpayers’ dime.
State Conservative Party Chair Mike Long said he sees nothing wrong with the governor having a girlfriend.
“As long as it’s not abused, it’s not a taxpayers issue,” Long said.
And if she were to move in permanently?
“Well, that’s something he has to decide to do, and that’s something the world will judge down the road if that happens,” Long said.
The Governor’s Office of General Services sees no issue. In a statement, the office said, “The mansion is the governor’s residence.”
Some say the governor’s mansion is not like Gracie Mansion, where only the mayor’s family may live and where overnight stays are prohibited.
Thanks to a successful career, though, Sandra Lee can set her table anywhere.