The Below Deck alum weighs in on new chief stew Francesca Rubi, all the interior drama, and charter guest Delores.
You can take the chief stew out of Below Deck, but you can't take Below Deck out of the chief stew.
While watching the current Season 8 as a viewer on Below Deck Galley Talk, which airs Fridays at 8/7c on Bravo, instead of as a crew member following her departure from the series last year, Kate Chastain has to resist the urge to want to correct what she sees on screen.
"Captain Lee [Rosbach] is doing just fine. However, I’ll admit the first few episodes I was like, why are they using bananas in his Cheerios? He only likes mixed berries. I’m like, why are they ironing his pants without that front crease? It’s all these little things," Kate shared during an exclusive interview with Bravo Insider. "It’s just muscle memory. I felt like heading towards where they make the drinks to make myself a drink. Like, just even watching it like it triggers the work part of my head."
And of course, Kate has opinions on the drama that we're seeing play out this season, including the tension between chief stew Francesca Rubi and stew Elizabeth Frankini. Kate said that she believes both Francesca and Elizabeth should change their approach to work in order to have a more successful interior team.
"Listen, they’re long seasons to work on a yacht, and you’re working every single day. So much can happen in such a short amount of time, and there’s so much stress in such a small space. It’s inevitable that you’re going to have moments, and I think they’ve both had moments that I wish they had handled differently," Kate explained. "I would like to see Francesca be a little bit more patient and maybe explain things to Elizabeth. I mean, I was spending days doing stewardess Olympics with Bri [Adekeye] and Jen [Howell]. I was teaching Simone [Mashile] how to open a wine bottle. Did I think she should know already? Yeah. But I still took the time to show her."
"I think Francesca is probably expecting too much from Elizabeth without helping her along the way," Kate concluded. "And I think Elizabeth probably could do less flirting."
However, Kate empathized with Francesca's seemingly stronger connection to one stew, Ashling Lorger, than the other, Elizabeth. "I feel bad for Francesca on this, because I think in anything in life — I’m sure other people have heard this saying before — three is hard. If you’ve got three friends, inevitably one of them is going to feel excluded," Kate said. "Over the years, I never once made an active decision to exclude any of the third stews, but it certainly became like this thing that people just assumed I did every, 'Oh, another season where Kate picks a favorite.' The truth is there are four deckhands. So that’s maybe why you never see that happen."
"I don’t think Francesca is excluding Elizabeth; I think that Ashling is a much stronger stewardess, and I think everyone will agree with that," Kate added. "And so, that’s just how it works."
Kate had nothing but kind words for Francesca, whom she got to meet virtually during their appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in December. "She had been on Watch What Happens Live a few weeks prior, and one of the viewer questions was, 'Have you talked to Kate Chastain or met her?' She said, 'No, but I’d love to talk to her.' So I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, I was giving you space because I had never heard from you or anything.' So I slid into her DMs. I was like, 'Hi, congratulations on your first episode. I heard you wanted to talk to me on Watch What Happens Live, so here I am.' So we did talk a little bit prior to that," Kate shared. "We didn’t get to know each other well [on WWHL], but she sent me a nice message afterwards. And I’ve enjoyed watching her when I’m doing Galley Talk."
One of the moments Kate has enjoyed most this season has been the charter with Delores on board, a guest who defied Captain Lee's orders and dove into the water at night. Though Delores was ultimately asked to leave the yacht while the charter was still in progress, Kate said that she will always remember her as "an icon," a sentiment she tweeted while watching the January 4 episode. "You know, Captain Lee is going to be mad at me," Kate said of her opinion of Delores. "I did notice that Captain Lee liked two of my tweets from that night, but not that one. I might be in trouble."
Kate said that she thinks Delores is "hilarious," a feeling she acknowledged is easy to have when she didn't have to deal with the situation with the charter guests on board My Seanna that night. "You know, like, it’s funny to me because I wasn’t the one there living it. Rocky, move over. Delores is here," Kate said, referencing the Season 3 stew Rocky Dakota. "Rocky’s like, 'I’m going to jump off the boat,' and Delores is like, 'Hold my beer.'"
However, Kate said that she believes if Delores had been on board while she was chief stew, things would have turned out differently. "I’m not sure that Delores would have made it into the water on my watch. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guest in the water that wasn’t allowed on my watch, so I think my track record shows that’s pretty true. I just feel like there is like a gate that you can close off to the platform," she explained. "These guests have a good time, and sometimes they have too much of a good time. And just like we’re trained to put out fires and we’re trained with life saving techniques at sea, also our job is to keep the guests where they belong when they’ve been drinking."
Captain Lee's reaction to Delores was "the angriest" Kate has ever seen him. "I’ve never seen him that angry," she said. "I know I say Delores is iconic and funny and hilarious, but all jokes aside, Captain Lee is responsible for the safety of everyone on the boat, and that’s something he takes very seriously, and that’s a good thing that he takes it so seriously. I mean, you wouldn’t want somebody who didn’t take that seriously."
Kate and Captain Lee may not be on the same page when it comes to Delores, but luckily, that "doesn't happen often," according to the Below Deck alum. "Captain Lee and I haven’t had many, at all, moments where we didn’t see eye-to-eye, and usually, he was the boss and my captain. So I didn’t really have a choice if I didn’t agree," Kate said, adding that she was "a respectful employee, too."
That seemingly simple secret to why Captain Lee and Kate worked so well together for so long may not be so obvious when you think of how many interactions — whether it's between a manager and an employee or a frustrated captain and an unruly charter guest — go south on Below Deck. "The fact is that maybe we have such a good relationship," Kate said of her and Captain Lee, "Because for six years my job was to be agreeable."
Want more Below Deck? New episodes air every Monday at 9/8c or catch up on every episode ever through the Bravo app.