Yes, Ben had been a fixture on Below Deck, having worked in the galley in Seasons 1, 2, and 4, as well as Season 3 when he stepped in to help the Eros crew after Chef Leon Walker was given a plane ticket home. But the Below Deck chef announced in February that he wouldn't be returning to Below Deck for Season 5. "I’ve decided to take a break from the show this season. I will continue to focus on my career as a chef and holistic nutritionist, and I’ll have a lot of exciting news on these fronts soon!" Ben said in a statement to The Daily Dish at the time. "The door is always open for Below Deck, and I wish the crew all the best with the upcoming season."
When Kate heard the news of Ben's decision to take a break from the show, she completely understood where he was coming from. "Ben was in the Mediterranean and Caribbean all in one year and that was really intense. He felt he wanted to go to the land life, was focusing on his catering business and traveling," Kate recently told The Huffington Post. "I can’t speak about future seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if he returned though. He was a fan favorite with his witty banter. I don’t mind bearing the brunt of that with him because he’s really that funny."
Ben may not be aboard the Valor this season, but he still keeps in touch with his Below Deck buds. He recently reunited with several of his Below Deck crew members, including Captain Lee Rosbach, Kelley Johnson, and Amy Johnson in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Find out what other Below Deck yachties Kate and Captain Lee keep in touch with today, below.