Sandra Lee Jokes She Needs to Work on Her Kissing with Boyfriend Ben Youcef at Elton John's Party

Sandra Lee wore a sheer "F U cancer" gown to her first red carpet since her hysterectomy

Sandra Lee, Ben Youcef
Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty

Sandra Lee and Ben Youcef are getting the hang of being out and about together!

While attending the Elton John AIDS Foundation's 30th Annual Academy Awards Viewing Party this weekend, the Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee star, 55, appeared with boyfriend Youcef, 43.

"We haven't got our kissing down yet," Lee told PEOPLE of being seen around town with her new beau. "We're normally really good at it."

Though practicing their kissing has become the couple's new mission, Lee expressed how smooth the rest of the relationship has been. "Everything's good. We're happy," she said, "and we're gonna have a great night."

Sandra Lee, Ben Youcef
Amy Sussman/Getty

For Lee, the red carpet meant more than the couple's first public event together. The dress she wore also made an important statement. Lee, who just four weeks ago underwent a hysterectomy after seven years post-double mastectomy in her battle against breast cancer, wore a custom gown by Ukranian designer Anait Mkrtchian.

"I was sick about four weeks ago, pretty sick in fact," Lee said, "and I just wanted something that was kind of like 'F--- cancer!'"

"Between breast cancer and ovarian, I just wanted a dress the kind of said, 'Hey girls, this is what's possible. Go get your stuff done. Take care of your business and and get your butt out there and buy yourself a pretty dress," the celebrity chef added.

Lee, who's always been candid about her health issues, said she'll always be open in order to inspire others going through tough times. "I hope it helps when I share my story."

Sandra Lee
Leon Bennett/Getty

PEOPLE first confirmed that Lee and Youcef were dating back in August of 2021. The two first met as friends at a Santa Monica restaurant months prior and have been "inseparable" since getting together, a source said in November.

"It's almost like a first love for both of them," the insider explained at the time, adding that friends of the couple are affectionately calling them "Bendra."

Lee made their relationship Instagram official on Valentine's Day with a gallery of romantic and intimate pictures of herself and Youcef.

Alongside the sweet snaps was an emotional caption in which Lee admitted she never anticipated she would find love again after the end of her 14-year relationship with former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

"So this happened! Ben happened! Love happened! Happiness happened!" Lee wrote. "I was certain it never would again. I was shocked when it did. I swore I would never fall again, trust again, love again or open myself up again."

Updated by Topher Gauk-Roger
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