Villa Chef Names The Food Lisa Vanderpump Won't Allow At Her Restaurant - Exclusive Interview

If the show "Vandepump Villa" was a cocktail it would be one part gorgeous scenery and two parts decadent food and lots of drama. The series takes place at the stunning Chateau Rosabelle in the south of France with restaurateur Lisa Vanderpump at the helm. The former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star hand-picked the staff who work and live together while trying to provide luxurious, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for their affluent guests.

As you can imagine, living with your co-workers immediately causes some major issues. Especially since two of the servers, Hannah Fouch and Marciano Brunette, previously dated for three years and the relationship ended because of his cheating. They are essentially a modern-day Stassi and Jax from "Vanderpump Rules," but in the beautiful French countryside.

To find out more about what this unique experience was like, we spoke with Chateau Rosabelle Sous Chef Caroline Byl in an exclusive interview. She told us what it was like working for Lisa Vanderpump, how it actually was behind the scenes, and which cooking project was the most difficult for her and fellow chef Anthony Bar to execute. 

Why she changed careers and became a chef

What initially inspired you to get into cooking as a career?

About 18 years ago, I was in the fashion industry — I was in London at that time — and something really strange happened to me. I had insomnia for about a week and all I could think was to draw a menu and a restaurant, something that was completely unfamiliar to me. I mean, I love food, but not to the point of drawing a restaurant or envisioning a menu — it was very strange.

So I spoke to a friend of mine and she was like, "I think angels are talking to you. You should go back to France and cook." And I was like, "Yeah, right." Well, that's exactly what I did. I went back to France and I actually went back to school.

What made you switch from working at restaurants to now being a private chef and event planner?

It was a very easy call for me because I felt like I was a bit too restricted in the restaurant world where it was a certain time, a certain uniform, and a certain menu. I'm the type of person who always wants to create. I'm also the type of person who likes wearing heels, so that wasn't compatible with working in a restaurant. I really wanted to merge my passion with my identity and never feel limited.

Of course, you have limitations on what your clients want, but as a private chef, I can be myself. I can also see the reaction of my clients. I can spend time with them. That's something I've really wanted to do because when you're in the kitchen, in a restaurant, you're in the kitchen and that's it. You only get the orders from your server. I wanted to have the best of both worlds.

What the casting process was like for 'Vanderpump Villa' and what she learned from working with Lisa Vanderpump

How did you originally hear about "Vanderpump Villa" and what was the casting process like?

The casting process for me was actually really fun. I was in my house and I was thinking, "I really want to go to France in September, but I don't know how I'm going to make it happen, but let's see." And three days later, I got a phone call from casting about a show that was going to be filmed in France. It was crazy. I had my interview, then I went to L.A. to do another interview in the studio and I got the answer that I was chosen to go to France a week later.

Seems like it was meant to be. Why do you think you were chosen over others who tried out for the show?

I think I'm definitely special in the fact that I cook in high heels and in my experience. There's something probably spicy and unique that I have that they wanted. And maybe it was about pairing me with chef Anthony [Bar].

What was it like working for Lisa Vanderpump?

Amazing, it's the best experience. The most beautiful woman. She is impressive. I always say she's magical and a pioneer. She knows what she wants and the thing is she doesn't need to say much but you'll execute what she wants. That's how powerful she is. She has a beautiful soft side and a motherly side that I love. I remember when I met her the first time, there was a spark in her eyes that I was like, "Whoa." I don't know how she does that but you're just mesmerized.

What qualities do you think she looks for in a chef at her businesses?

I think she looks for high standards, knowledge, and passion. You have to have a chef that is creative but flexible. Someone who has a strong personality but also knows how to be open-minded. In the chef world sometimes people are not open-minded. They want what they want and that's it. That's a shame because food should be something that you want to share and it should bring people together. So if someone is just like, "This is my way or the highway," then what's the point? You know? I think Lisa has a very good flair for recognizing people that she wants to work for her.

That makes sense she wants someone talented but also collaborative. Lisa appears to have an incredible work ethic, having multiple restaurants around the world. What did you learn from her during your time on the series?

I've learned that you have to have patience with your co-workers. I've learned that you can do everything — you can be beautiful, hardworking, and resilient. What was the most impressive and what inspired me most is that she does so much and she's always perfect. She can be sick, she can be tired, she can be upset, and you'll never know. I love that about her.

What Lisa Vanderpump doesn't like serving on menus and what it was like living with co-workers

Is there anything that she refuses to serve on a menu?

Yes, Lisa is very passionate about animals. So of course, it's something that we avoid as much as possible, cooking animals like lamb and things like that. She's more of a pescatarian.

What was it like having the high-stress job of delivering beautiful dishes and the extra pressure of being filmed at the same time?

You kind of forget about it at some point. In the beginning, you might be a bit self-conscious, but you don't really have time to think about the cameras. It's weird because sometimes they're right there, but you just forget about it. The thing is, your goal is to cook and provide a menu for the guests, so camera or no camera, it is what it is.

I'm sure you're so into cooking, I would imagine that you just forget they're there. There's obviously a lot of drama and a lot of fighting happening between the staff on the show, like the burnt croissant debacle. Did that make it more difficult to do your job?

Yes and no because the hospitality industry is always fast-paced. There's always something going on in restaurants whether it's a co-worker, a client, or food that didn't get delivered. So there's always drama. Life always has drama, whether it's positive or negative, so it wasn't much different for me.

The difference was that you live with these co-workers. That's why the croissant got burned because I guess that morning, I was just tired. And then I don't remember exactly what I did, but I think I went straight to work and I forgot I put something in the oven for breakfast for me and so that's what happened.

Yeah, that has to be tough to live with your co-workers all the time and have no separation.

It is, but it's also such an incredible experience to have. Normally, you go to work, you see your co-workers, you go back home and that's it. Whereas on the show, you leave with a completely unique experience that I absolutely enjoyed. I like this family, this community, and growing with people. I think it's amazing. I have four brothers, so I like it when the house is full.

The toughest meal to create on the show and what she has coming up

How much of a say did you and fellow chef Anthony Bar have on what you served to guests at the chateau?

It was a collaboration. First, we had to really take into consideration what the guests wanted in terms of allergies, the restrictions, and then Lisa as the curator. So she will express her vision, Anthony will work on it, and then we'll just like collaborate together to make sure we respect her vision, but we add our personal touch.

The series features elaborate dinner themes from a diamond and pearl dinner to a night at the Moulin Rouge. What was the most difficult meal for you guys to execute?

To be honest, I don't think there was one. Anthony and I are very much up to any challenges. But I will say when you have something that represents a certain culture, you want to make sure it really hits home for that person. I think as a chef, in general, when you have something that is a special dish from a specific culture, you want to make sure you definitely match their expectations.

Yeah, that sounds tough since you'd want to get the spices, the flavor, and all those things right. Do you have any other cooking projects coming up in the future?

I'm always up to a cooking project or opening a restaurant. It's something I'm always eager to do. But I will say that what I really want to do is a cookbook. I've been working on something. It takes time, but it's something eventually I would like to have.

"Vanderpump Villa" is available to stream on Hulu, with new episodes dropping on Mondays.

This interview has been edited for clarity.