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When Below Deck Mediterranean kicked off Season 4, viewers met a female chef for the first time in franchise history: Mila Kolomeitseva. (It did not go flawlessly.) Just ahead of the premiere, The Feast sat down with Captain Sandy Yawn at Bravo HQ in Los Angeles to get her thoughts on the significance of working with the groundbreaking chef.
"To be honest, I don’t ever think about gender when it comes to the crews. I think about their position," Sandy told us. "A chef is very critical to the boat — because if the food’s bad, the charter’s bad."
She continued, "The weather can be bad, but the food carries the charter. You can talk to any captain and they will agree."
As is required to succeed in her own role, Sandy has demanding standards. "I have an expectation when a chef works a vessel that they are going to carry the charter if the weather’s bad," she told us. "First impressions are lasting impressions."
"Of course, I'm a supportive captain — I don’t care if you’re male or female," Sandy said. "Whatever role you’re in, I'm going to give them the support. That's my job."
And ultimately, it's her own job that Sandy is protecting when she takes steps to ensure the charter goes flawlessly — led by the food. "I see the end game, and the end game is to make the client happy, which makes the management company happy, which makes the owner happy, and the owner decides if I have a job or not," she said. "So I want the chef to be able to produce the food that’s required for a charter vessel. It’s not about the personality, it's about the food."
Beyond that, she said, it's about healthy and effective working relationships. "The relationship between the chief stew and the chef is also a big part of the success that comes out of the galley," Sandy told The Feast. "Because if you have the chef and the chief stew not getting along, that is not good. Because it’s going to reflect on the food, the way it's delivered to the table, the attitude around the table — it just needs to be cohesive. But first it starts with the quality of food."
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