Lifestyle Food Sandra Lee Dating Ben Youcef Following Gov. Cuomo Breakup: They Are a 'Good Match,' Says Source "Both are taking things slowly and enjoying getting to know each other," a source tells PEOPLE of Sandra Lee and Ben Youcef, an actor and interfaith leader By Nicholas Rice Nicholas Rice Instagram Twitter Nicholas Rice is an Associate Editor for PEOPLE Magazine. He began working with the brand as an Editorial Intern in early 2020, before later transitioning to a freelance role, and then staff positions soon after. Nicholas writes and edits anywhere between 7 to 9 stories per day on average for PEOPLE, spanning across each vertical the brand covers. Nicholas has previous work experience with Billboard, POPSUGAR, Bustle and Elite Daily. When not working, Nicholas can be found playing with his 5 dogs, listening to pop music or eating mozzarella sticks. People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 6, 2021 01:12 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: BACKGRID Sandra Lee has a new man in her life! The lifestyle icon, 55, is currently dating actor and producer Ben Youcef, a source confirms to PEOPLE. "They became friends when they met at a Santa Monica restaurant in March. It's very early but they seem to have an undeniable connection," says the source. "But both are taking things slowly and enjoying getting to know each other." "Meeting each other during COVID was challenging," adds the source. "He's become her friend and loving confidante quickly." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Sandra Lee. Daniele Venturelli/Getty Sandra Lee Makes Her First Red Carpet Appearance Since Andrew Cuomo Breakup and Breast Reconstruction Surgery Youcef, 42, is a nonprofit interfaith leader, as well as a father of two. He separated from his wife in 2019, before they later filed for divorce in January 2020. "He seems to be a good match as he has a deep understanding of all of Sandra's worlds from her professional life to her dedicated focus on family and commitment to philanthropy," says the source, who also noted that Youcef was raised in a political family, as his father was a longtime Algerian diplomate. Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday. As for the age difference between the two, the source tells PEOPLE, "Ben is 13 years her junior, and Sandra struggled with the age difference refusing to date him at first. Ben was patient and reassured her that age is just a number." Lee and Governor Andrew Cuomo were together for 14 years before announcing their split in September 2019. "I think she needed someone completely different from Andrew. It took her two years for her to even consider dating again as she wanted to be sure she could make herself happy and to heal before she brought someone in her life," a close friend of the chef adds. The news of Lee's new romance comes about amid the sexual harassment scandal surrounding her ex. Sandra Lee, Ben Youcef. Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Michael Bezjian/WireImage Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that an independent investigation into harassment allegations against Cuomo, 63, had concluded, with the investigators finding that the governor "sexually harassed multiple women" and, in doing so, "violated federal and state law." RELATED VIDEO: Sandra Lee Makes Her First Red Carpet Appearance Since Andrew Cuomo Breakup and Breast Reconstruction Surgery In a press conference, James, 62, said the investigation found that Cuomo engaged in "unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and making inappropriate comments" with both current and former New York state employees. She added that the actions "created a hostile work environment for women," and said that the governor and his senior staff took actions to retaliate against at least one former employee who came forward with her story. Cuomo's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment but denied the allegations in a recorded message published Tuesday. "I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," Cuomo said in the video. "I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am, and that's not who I have ever been."