Sandra Lee

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The first edition of Sandra Lee's first book Sandra Lee, holding a jar of Cheez Whiz from a 2004 episode of Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee.
The first edition of Sandra Lee's first book Sandra Lee, holding a jar of Cheez Whiz from a 2004
episode of Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee is an American author and television host.

Lee is most well-known for her "semi-homemade cooking" concept. She describes the philosophy as "70% store-bought/ready-made products accompanied by 30% fresh and creative touches allow anyone to take 100% of the credit for an incredible result."

Lee has two best-selling books: Semi-Homemade Cooking and Semi-Homemade Desserts, originally printed by Talk Miramax but now distributed by Meredith Corporation. She also has a show on the Food Network, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, and in 2005, released the book Semi-Homemade Cooking 2 along with revised editions of her first two books. Initially, Lee was announced as co-host of NBC's Celebrity Cooking Showdown, but ultimately never appeared on the program.

Her cooking program contains an arts and crafts element; Lee generally decorates the table environment in accordance with the theme of the show. Lee refers to these as "tablescapes".

Praise and criticism

Fans generally praise Lee for her simple, time-saving techniques.

Some of her critics take issue with the nutritional value of her meals, since many ingredients are pre-packaged or contain high amounts of sugar, fat, sodium, or alcohol. (The last is most often seen in a segment of her program entitled "Sandra's Cocktail Time".)

Others oppose her perceived over-reliance on specific brands and products, which may not be available to consumers for various reasons - or may be more expensive than their generic equivalents.

While it has been suggested that she studied at Le Cordon Bleu, the absence of any mention of formal gastronomic training on either her official web site's biography or her Food Network biography suggests that any time spent there was minimal.

For a time, Lee referred to herself as a lifestylist, but has since stopped doing so due to a trademark issue. Texas-based home living expert Suzanne Felber trademarked the word in 2000.

Some online critics refer to themselves as "shrikes", after comments by a Lee supporter on the recipe review boards on the Food Network website.

Personal life

Lee has filed for divorce from husband Bruce Karatz, who is the chairman and CEO of KB Home. After taping the first four seasons of Semi-Homemade Cooking and authoring three cookbooks, Lee left Los Angeles. She now resides in New York, where her television program is filmed.

Lee also has 1 sister (Kimber), a brother (Johnny), and at least two nieces (Stephanie, who is often called Miss Stephanie and Danielle) and three nephews (Austin, Bryce (Brycer), and Scotty). These relatives occasionally appear on Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, as does Lee's best friend, Colleen. Lee has also hinted to having a third niece, as well as another sister, but their names have not been disclosed on air.

Lee may be featured on an episode of Food Network's occasional series "Chefography" - her name is mentioned in a promotional ad for the program.

In 2005, Lee signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Campbell's soup company to become their new spokeswoman. Television spots featuring Lee, as well as Food Network producer Gordon Elliot, have already been filmed and will be airing soon.

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