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How Fraser Olender Feels About Being the First Male Chief Stew in Below Deck History
Ahead of Below Deck Season 10, the returning cast member told The Daily Dish all about his experience of being chief stew.
Below Deck Season 10 is already one for the books. Why? Because for the first time in the franchise’s history, a male chief stew will be on board.
Former second stew Fraser Olender is stepping into the role, and as he told The Daily Dish, it’s not something he takes lightly. “I feel so honored. I can’t quite believe it still,” he said. “I think that I’ve always dreamed [of] walking in Kate [Chastain]’s footsteps, and I feel like I’m finally doing that.”
Fraser explained that he’s been working toward the promotion from the moment he joined Below Deck in 2021. “I had manifested this when I did Season 9,” he said. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but when I start something, I need to do it 100 percent; I need to get to the top as quick as I can. And it kind of fell into place with enough hard work.”
Fans will see him continue to work hard throughout Season 10, but Fraser himself admitted that he had a rough start as chief stew. “I quite literally was ready to leave on day one,” he said. “I was so overwhelmed. I was so nervous. I didn’t know my crew. I didn’t know what crew to make what position on board.”
And that was before it came time to stock up on provisions and clean the motor yacht from top to bottom. “It was a lot, but you know, step by step, we got there,” Fraser said. “A little deep breathing, and no counseling as of yet, so I’m very happy about that.”
That’s not to say he wouldn’t have benefitted from some at certain points throughout the season, though. Without giving too much away, Fraser teased that there comes a point where “I start really doubting everything that’s going on around me… I’m really tested.”
Drama aside, there’s plenty of fun to come too. Fraser said he bonded the most with stew Hayley De Sola Pinto, who “is beyond the definition of a soulmate.”
“She was always there for me to laugh every minute of the day,” he added, “and I’m just super, super grateful.”
Plus, while Fraser may have doubted himself at times, Captain Lee Rosbach never did. “He did such an outstanding job, I refer to him now as Mr. Olender,” Captain Lee told E! News. “Sandy [Yawn] was the first female captain that we’ve had, but we’d never had a male chief stew. It’s quite an accomplishment. It’s quite a feat.”
Added Captain Lee, “I don’t know if Mr. Olender realizes what an accomplishment he has under his belt, but I was damn proud of him.”