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Captain Lee on Kate Chastain's Below Deck Departure: "I Did Not See That Coming"

The Below Deck boss says the longtime chief stew's exit is "bittersweet."

Captain Lee Rosbach was just as shocked as the rest of us when he heard the news that Kate Chastain would not be returning to Below Deck.

The Below Deck boss opened up about his longtime chief stew's announcement during a recent interview with HollywoodLife. “That was out of left field. I did not see that coming at all. I was totally blown away,” Captain Lee said. “Kate called me and it was a bittersweet thing. She let me know that she wasn’t going to come back, but she thought it was time to move on."

Captain Lee went on to say that he is sorry to see Kate go but still excited for her next chapter. “She’s got bigger and better things to do and I was happy for her. But, I was sad in the same breath because she’s a valued member of my team and she’s a valued member of ‘Below Deck’ and the show," Captain Lee said. "So, big shoes to fill for somebody, or try to do it, yeah. I miss Kate.”

Captain Lee and Kate reminisced about their rough start in Season 2 of Below Deck in the Below Deck Season 7 After Show, above.

Kate announced that she would not be returning to Below Deck after six seasons as chief stew following the Season 7 reunion in February. "After many months of reflection and internal discussions, I have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new land based role," she wrote on Instagram. "I intend to step back as a senior member of the Below Deck Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support His Majesty Andy Cohen.”

When Kate returned to the United States from Thailand, she immediately packed up her life in Florida and moved to New York City. She is now currently back in Florida where she is self-quarantined with her dog Halo amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, having just moved into a new apartment in the Big Apple in March.

Kate is already on to her next project. Her limited-run series Unapologetically Kate Chastain launched earlier this month on SiriusXM's Radio Andy channel. “I’m absolutely thrilled about this opportunity to join SiriusXM’s Radio Andy family! It is both an honor and a major check off on my ‘mental vision-board bucket-list’ to join the lineup," Kate told PEOPLE. "I like to consider myself a recreational sociologist, which is quite liberating because it means I’m not judging people, I’m basically a scientist-ish. I look forward to voicing my thoughts with Radio Andy listeners nationwide!” 

Kate has also been keeping up with the newest Below Deck franchise, Below Deck Sailing Yacht, which airs new episodes on Mondays at 9/8c. See what she had to say about new Captain Glenn Shephard, below.

Kate Chastain Shares Her First Impressions of Captain Glenn Shephard
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