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article imageSandra Lee talks 'Stand Up to Cancer,' philanthropy, success Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 6, 2016 in Lifestyle
New York - Acclaimed cookbook author and television chef Sandra Lee sat down and chatted with Digital Journal about "Stand Up To Cancer." She also offered advice for aspiring chefs.
Lee is best known for her semi-homemade cooking style (70 percent pre-packaged products and 30 percent fresh items), and she is a recent cancer survivor, who is raising awareness about an incredibly important campaign that MasterCard is running this month and August, in an effort to raise $4 million for "Stand Up To Cancer." "I have been very fortunate this year to have some fantastic partners who have the same focus that I do, which is to eradicate cancer and find a cure, and raise the money to allow the researchers to do just that. One of the partnerships is with MasterCard, and I am the spokesperson for Stand Up to Cancer and I am the ambassador for MasterCard's Priceless Cities, so it was a wonderful trio to bring awareness and to do something really good, while people are dining out," she said. "Between July 1 and August 19, you use your MasterCard at a restaurant and anything $10 or more, and they will make a donation up to $4 million, which is fantastic. Being the ambassador for Priceless has been a really incredible experience."
Regarding her plans for the future, she said, "I just celebrated my 50th birthday, and I am going away with my family for three weeks on a vacation."
Each day, she is motivated by her family, friends, philanthropy and her company. "I probably spend equal amounts of time on each of those," she explained. "My days are broken up pretty specifically."
On the key to longevity in the industry, she said, "Doing what you love, staying relevant, researching and finding out what the people that you service need, and finding out how best to get them the information, and changing with them."
Her advice for aspiring chefs is as follows: "Have fun, enjoy yourselves and be daring. Don't listen to critics."
In 2012, Lee took home the Emmy award for "Outstanding Lifestyle/Culinary Host" for her show Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, which is on the Food Network. "That was great. We won in a beauty category for make-up, and we were the only cable show to win that award, so that was really an honor. I also won for host that same year," she said.
When asked to reflect and look back at the past decade, she said, "I see a lot of hard work. 27 books, the magazine and four TV shows and numerous partnerships. A lot of work, a lot of fun, growth and change, and an incredible amount of planning. And ultimately, love. I had all of these underneath a halo of love."
As an alternate career choice, the culinary queen noted that she would be in the music industry. "I can't sing but I have a great ear. I would be in management or I would be a talent scout. I would want to work with musicians in the business," she said.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending it with her family, as well as her pets, which include her cockatoo Phoenix. "I hang out with friends, I go antiquing and I like watching TV at night. I am always watching documentaries on PBS. I love Animal Planet," she said.
Lee is actively connected with her Facebook family. "I am really connected to my social media family. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I am going to post, how I am going to post it, and what it is going to look like, so there is something always new and fresh. I enjoy writing the messages myself whether it is a question or a thoughtful note about an image," she said.
This Saturday, July 9, Lee is being honored by the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. "It is called 'A Hamptons Happening' and tickets are still available. It's a really great research foundation. What I truly like about them is that the researchers are required to share what their findings are. It's really important that everybody connects, so I really like how they are structured and what they stand for," she said.
The Emmy winner concluded our interview by furnishing her definition of the word success as "balance." "There is success by a way of creating a loving, sweet family, which is what I have. I feel I have success because of that. My business is successful. The word success means work, focus, drive, ambition, connectedness and balance. You need to have good people around you and good advisors," she said.
For more information on Sandra Lee, check out her official website and follow her on Facebook.
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