EXCLUSIVE: Lisa Vanderpump on ‘Outrageous’ Gordon Ramsay Rivalry in Food Stars Season 2

Gordon Ramsay and Lisa Vanderpump for Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Season 2 on FOX
Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/FOX/©2024 FOX Media LLC

Lisa Vanderpump might just be the busiest woman on reality television. She has owned over 30 restaurants and bars, saves and rehabilitates dogs through The Vanderpump Dog Foundation, champions suicide prevention and LGBT+ rights, and, from May 22, will have three different shows airing across three different networks, with the arrival of Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars Season 2 on FOX. This season, Gordon Ramsay is going head-to-head with LVP in what will surely be his toughest battle of all time. Reality Tea got the chance to chat to Lisa all about the show, her relationship with Gordon, and more, in an exclusive chat ahead of the Food Stars Season 2 premiere.

A new challenge for Lisa, and the dynamics of her relationship with Gordon

Gordon Ramsay and Lisa Vanderpump for Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Season 2 on FOX
Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/FOX/©2024 FOX Media LLC

“It was different. It was very much out of my wheelhouse in terms of reality television, but it was very much in my wheelhouse in terms of business,” Lisa told us. “I didn’t realize how competitive I am. I’m always thinking that I’m pretty easy-going, ‘as long as you’re winning in life, don’t worry about it.’ But no, I wanted to kick him in the butt.”

Lisa and Gordon have always been friendly. “I think he’s iconic,” she admitted. “I think he’s brilliant and a very unusual character that, probably, in this show, some people might have deferred to Gordon, but I don’t. He’s very used to being autonomous and controlling everything. Then suddenly, it was more of a competition against me. But, I think you’re gonna see a different side of Gordon.”

Thankfully, the two share a British banter that allows them to retain respect for one another, while firing barbs across the room. “I do think that in Britain, we’re a lot less sensitive than we are in America,” LVP explained. “I kept saying to Gordon, ‘Oh my goodness, if we were filming this show in America, we’d be in so much trouble.’

“We have an aggressive sense of humor, but I think when you ultimately know our respect for each other, it’s just coated with a lot of punching at each other and aggression when it comes to competition. But ultimately, I think we looked at each other very respectfully. It might not come across like that,” she laughed.

“He always drives me crazy because he says, ‘You’re wet leg,’ because we have a lot of emphasis on cocktails and things … we always fight about that because he’s mainly a restaurateur.”

Food Stars Season 2 brought a high caliber of contestants into the mix

Lisa Vanderpump on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Season 2
Photo Credit: FOX/2022 Fox Media LLC

“These were already bright individuals to be considered for this show, but to see them take chances and start to understand how to present themselves – I saw a lot of development,” Lisa teased.

“The contestants all came from different walks of life, but they all had one of the things we needed. They had to be tenacious, creative, bold, they had to have confidence, but one of the things I loved about this show probably more than anything – and you’ll see how it really touched a nerve with Gordon – when you see the growth, that’s what I always look for in people. We’ve even talked about that on Vanderpump Rules.”

When it came to establishing herself against Gordon, LVP said she was initially “worried” about filming in London. “Luckily, we had American contestants because I’m more well-known in America,” she continued. “But the first challenge was out with the public in England.” Still, she made an impact.

Lisa confessed, “I think everybody had to get down and dirty, including me, because I wanted to win. The first challenge was when we were in a food truck; I was like, ‘Faster, faster! Come on!’ Someone was on Gordon’s side going to his food truck and asked me for a selfie. I said, ‘Sure if you come over once you’ve ordered your food here, I’ll give you a selfie!’ I’ll do anything [for the win].”

Pitching for their lives

Lisa Vanderpump and Gordon Ramsay with an entrepreneur on Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Season 2
Photo Credit: FOX/2022 Fox Media LLC

The hopeful entrepreneurs all had to pitch themselves to Gordon and Lisa. Then, the two could say whether or not they wanted to bring that person onto their team.

“We were vying for the same contestants. Gordon kept saying, ‘You’re just grabbing them and putting your team together so quickly.’ I said, ‘No, I’m being strategic,’ because I think we knew there were challenges that lay ahead,” Lisa explained.

“We didn’t know what [the challenges] were, but I had to have all bases covered. So I was really looking for someone who could handle the kitchen or somebody who was good at branding. We didn’t know who was coming next, so maybe I did have this angst that I had to [get my team together]. Also, if I felt that he wanted somebody, of course I wanted them more then!”

Lisa said the whole experience was “intimidating” for contestants, “even down to the presentation at the beginning, as they walked down this huge, iconic stretch in this huge room to Gordon and I sitting there. If you’re not gonna poop yourself before, you will now! It was pretty scary. I’m not scared of many things, but I think if I’d been walking down that long thing … you had people come to tears, stumble, trip over a step – people were very jittery.”

What does LVP bring to the table that Gordon is lacking?

Lisa Vanderpump for Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars Season 2 on FOX
Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/FOX/©2024 FOX Media LLC

“Class! Sensitivity! Look, it’s a very different style of mentoring, for sure. I’m always about people having confidence and being their best selves and bringing that out. Gordon’s more about the idiot sandwich,” Lisa joked.

Again, however, she thinks a different side of Gordon will be showcased: a more “sensitive side.” There’s even one contestant in particular who almost moved the pair to tears.

“People are gonna say, ‘What? I didn’t know he had that side,’” LVP teased. “And I think maybe the interactions with me became very playful. Sometimes, we were a little outrageous – I don’t know how much they’ll use of that – but it came from a place of security with the utmost respect for each other as business people.

“Nobody’s done what Gordon’s done, and I can’t minimize that, but then equally, he would say, ‘Well, I see your business right opposite mine with a line out of the door.’”

“We’re next to each other in Lake Tahoe, where I just opened Wolf by Vanderpump,” Lisa continued. “And I know we’ve got the better position! I know my restaurant knocks spots off his when it comes to the visuals and gorgeousness of it. I don’t forget to remind him of all those aspects.”

As for the future? The friendly rivalry continues. “We’re opposite each other in Caesars Palace, right near each other in Paris Casino, and opening next door to each other in Flamingo [Las Vegas] in September, so game on, Gordon!”

This interview was edited for conciseness and clarity.

Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars Season 2 launches Wednesday, May 22, at 9/8c on FOX.