Any lover of The Food Network knows Katie Lee, the co-host on “The Kitchen.” Even if you are not a fan of television but love cooking, you might have probably come across one of her cookbooks. The TV personality never graduated from any culinary school, but her dishes are to die for, and she makes a living by sharing them. Although she rose to fame through her marriage to Billy Joel, she has made a name for herself. Consequently, fortune has followed her, so let’s look at how Katie Lee’s net worth reached $10 million.
Her Family Ignites Her Love for Food
Lee was born to Becker, a middle school teacher who raised her alone when Lee’s father walked out on them when she was two. Luckily, even if she never knew the love of a father, she was surrounded by her extended family, most especially her grandparents, who lived two doors down and usually babysat her. Her great-grandmother lived next door, while her great-uncle and great-aunt lived one door down. The extended family enjoyed Lee’s grandmother’s cooking, and as she told Charleston Gazette-Mail, they all went to her grandmother’s during the holidays. Her grandmother was known best for her biscuits, large as a cat’s head and appropriately nicknamed “cat heads.” Her great-aunt, on the other hand, was an expert at baking cookies. Lee’s favorites were chocolate peanut butter balls, and Mexican wedding cookies. The cookies were so irresistible that little Lee would steal some when she passed by her Aunt Pat’s house after school. Lee cites her grandmother as her number one influence, seconded by farmers who inspire her to cook from what she finds readily available from the farm stand. Her grandfather also played a huge role in molding her. He made grilled sandwiches as Lee liked them, and when eating, he concentrated on chewing the food, making the little girl learn how to focus on the flavors. Also, besides tending to the farm and teaching her about farm-to-table cooking, he turned her on to Emeril Lagasse when Lee was a teenager. Lee’s grandfather loved Lagasse so much that on his hospital bed, he wanted to watch Lagasse. Due to this influence, Lee dreamed about TV journalism.
Strategic Marriage Brings Opportunities
Mashed published that Lee kick-started her career thanks to her marriage to rock star Joel. Lee was set on having a culinary career, so after a brief stint working at a local news magazine program hosted by kids, Lee went to study TV journalism at Miami University. Her passion for cooking also led to her running a kitchen off-campus. It must have done so well that she applied to French Culinary Institute. She was accepted and, in 2002, went to check out the school in Manhattan, hoping to accomplish a new dream of becoming a cookbook author and food critic. She bumped into Joel at the rooftop bar at The Peninsula Hotel, New York, as she was searching for something in her purse. Lee did not know who Joel was, but a friend did; thus, they accepted an invitation to join him for drinks. Lee and her friend were treated to dinner and a Broadway show; Joel later tried impressing Lee with a song. After a week, Lee visited Joel at his house in the Hamptons, and the 32-year gap never bothered her as she fell in love with the musician. Instead of going to French Culinary Institute, Lee became Joel’s wife in 2004. However, it was a good trade considering that the rock star was connected with the crème de la crème of the society-even Donald Trump and Alec Baldwin had attended his wedding to Lee. Therefore as Lee continued pursuing her goals by starting a culinary website and writing for Hampton’s magazine, opportunities began to knock on her door. As The New York Times Magazine informs us, Lee made social connections through her husband’s social circle. She wound up on “Top Chef” and “Extra!” as the article further enlightens us. Even after being replaced on “Top Chef,” Lee was already on the right track because the exposure resulted in a cookbook contract.
Becoming a Renowned Author and TV Personality
Her husband continued supporting her in reaching a larger audience. He performed “Only the Good Die Young” on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” where his wife would promote her recipes on her first cookbook, “The Comfort Table.” It is unclear how much the contract was worth, but some sources report that an author with some level of fame can get $100,000 as an advance while a first-time author can get $10,000. The sales must have encouraged Lee to write a second book, “The Comfort Table: Recipes for Everyday Occasions,” and since then, she has written three other books. Her cooking skills also landed her on different cooking shows as a host and judge. She has hosted “The Kitchen” since its first episode in 2014. Gordon Ramsay earns $225,000 per episode, and Guy Fieri got a new contract worth $80 million with the Food Network. Therefore, Lee’s salary on must be lucrative given the many years she has dedicated to the network; she is not only a host but has been a judge on several shows too. Besides making money from writing cookbooks and hosting a cooking show, Lee also made millions in real estate. Her marriage to Joel lasted five years, and the divorce settlement was the couple’s New York townhouse since the rock star ensured that Lee signed a prenuptial agreement to protect his fortune. According to Daily Mail, Joel had paid $5.9 million for the house, and Lee wanted $12.9 million. She wound up selling it for $11.65 million, quite a substantial sum since she had not spent a dime on the house. Lee had also bought a house for $3.55 million and sought to sell it for $6.5 million but reduced the price to $5.5 million. It finally sold for $4.93 million, leaving her with nearly $1.4 million in profit.
Written by Allen Lee
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