On February 5, at 11 AM Eastern Standard Time, a miracle occurred: I spoke on the phone with Lisa Vanderpump. After watching Bravo's Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules for what probably amounts to years of my life, it felt as if I was sitting in the living room of Villa Rosa (Lisa's house), drinking tea made by Rosia, and gossiping about our latest girls' trip. In reality, I was calling from the basement of VICE in a dark, cold room.
While it feels like I blacked out during the call due to excitement, what I really took away is the advice Lisa gave me about staying sane amid all day-to-day craziness: Your home should be your sanctuary. She also told me she likes to cook roast chicken. I feel like Ina Garten and Lisa would get along famously (and that's the plot of a reality show I'll be pitching to Bravo shortly).
Lisa is a very, very busy person—running restaurants with her husband Ken to starring in two reality TV shows, having a family, taking care of mini horses, swans, and dogs. It was fascinating to hear that she had time to make dinner for her family and friends just the night before our call. Sometimes it's easy to forget that your favorite reality stars—the people you watch weekly from your couch as you shovel noodles in your mouth—are actually real people. Lisa was in the kitchen cooking a roast chicken. Can you imagine?
I guess stars really are just like us.
MUNCHIES: Hi, Lisa! So, what's it like to run a restaurant with a spouse? Lisa Vanderpump: It's complicated and you really have to try to keep [your] personal and business [lives] separate. It's very important [to not relate] to each other only as a business partner, as we work together and I find that sometimes that happens.
Being so busy with running restaurants, having a family, etc., how do you keep the spark in your marriage alive? I think [you have to make] the effort to find quality time together and [we] try to remind ourselves why we're together in the first place. Dinners, time at home with our dogs. I love cooking and entertaining, and I think our down-time together is of extreme importance, since we are so busy in our restaurant business. My advice to any couple [looking] for a long, successful relationship is: If you both put each other first, you're bound for success.
What kind of advice do you give your staff in this crazy age of online dating? I think you have to be extremely careful with this online dating, and I don't normally give my staff dating advice per se. My advice is to meet in the afternoon for tea or coffee, so it's easy to have a quick and easy exit. Don't meet when alcohol isn't involved. Let people know where you're going and exercise extreme caution.
When you're together at dinner, take [your] time, turn your phone off, and enjoy the moment. When I grew up, we didn't have mobile phones, and I think that's partially responsible for people not focusing on their relationships [now]. All these different distractions.
What kind of special things do you cook at home? I love traditional English recipes, I entertain once a week. I try to keep it pretty low-carb. We're not huge meat-eaters. I have a diverse, eclectic palate when it comes to eating. We can be eating shrimp and vegetables with a spiced rice one night; we can be eating roast chicken with vegetables the next. I usually eat high on the vegetable intake and low on the carbs. But I love entertaining, love cooking, and I like to make every meal at home.
[At this point in the interview, I asked Lisa if I could come over for dinner. She laughed.]
Who's your real Valentine: Giggy or Ken? Well, I have eight dogs, two miniature horses, and six swans, so Ken comes in fourth!
For Valentine's Day dinner, will you be going out or eating at home? Valentine's day is an extremely busy time for us, since we are in the restaurant business. Instead of celebrating, we visit the restaurants, so we usually celebrate either a day before or after at home with a nice dinner.
Thanks for speaking with me!