Below Deck Mediterranean Season 4 - Captain Sandy Yawn

The casting team went overboard for season 4 of Below Deck Mediterranean. They combed the globe hoping to find the most incomprehensible accents and ridiculous people possible. I say, they succeeded, because last night the craziest, most outrageous, most shocking thing ever happened when it came to what new chef Mila Kolomeitseva served for dinner!

This season is taking place in the south of France, which is the place both Captain Sandy Yawn and Hannah Ferrier consider the birth of their yachting career. Something tells me the French government only allowed them in with exit visas already issued… Helping Sandy and Hannah terrorize the cobalt blue waters of a country known for its class and culinary sophistication is Joao Franco, newly returned from relationship rehab (I kid) and promoted to boson.

Joao will hopefully be keeping his dick in his pants, his opinions in his mouth, and his flirting to the acceptable minimum required to maintain his place on this cast for season 5.  Joao reports that he and Brooke Laughton (from last season)  really, really tried to make their tempestuous relationship, work but it all fell apart when Brooke cheated on him, then left him. I am about to buy his sob story – then I remembered how he behaved allll of last season (and on the reunion) by having a non-stop emotional affair with that Play-Doh haired Kasey, and I’m just like nah, Joao. Seriously karma served hot and ready by Brooke.

Joao Franco & Hannah Ferrier

This time Joao, like his nemesis turned frienemy Hannah promises to be good. I believe them, and I also believe the crew will start acting all kinds of insane and Hannah will eventually find Crocs displayed as the table centerpiece and just explode. Also returning from last season is Colin Macy-O’Toole. He is just so charming and sweet, I adore him and I so hope he gets a hot French fling this season, then writes a rap comparing Captain Sandy to Filet Mig-none.

From second one we know the new chef is gonna be trouble. Mila hails from Siberia and tells confusing stories about being a White Russian spy running an illegal gambling den to bolster her own self-esteem, and describes the joy it brought her to see men lose at cards, until that joy was supplanted by the joy found in cooking American diner food. Supposedly Mila chopped and sous vide’d her way out of Russia, right into the Le Cordon Bleu Institute, and finally into Captain Sandy‘s galley. I believe that as much as I believe that 50% of Hannah’s body weight isn’t comprised of wine and un-exhaled cigarette smoke. #KaseyWroteHerResume

Mila spends most of her first day aboard in the bathroom vomiting after eating bad shrimp. Which may explain why Mila didn’t understand that although the preference sheet may list “Mexican food,” under likes, that doesn’t mean 1990’s suburban Wednesday night dinner after mom saw an Old El Paso commercial and decided to get adventurous. Or maybe Mila was literally hallucinating?

Anastasia and Aesha

The rest of the interior crew is comprised of Anastasia Surmava who actually also speaks Russian because she was born in Georgia. Anastasia opens with a comment about having a work ethic “like an immigrant,” which I initially thought was an off-color joke of the kind usually found on Bravo, but it turns out she actually is an immigrant. And a perfectionist. And also a chef, which comes in handy when Mila almost skipped lunch service recovering from toxic shrimp scampi. And I predict Anastasia’s magic bikini of tricks will come in handy again given how last night’s dinner went! Mysteriously with all her skills – including working 100’s of charters – Anastasia is still the third stew… I also predict drama soup being served very soon, set to a lovely table scape of sharpened knives, and a Kate Chastain-style checklist.

James Stirrup

The second stew is Aesha Scott, who’s from New Zeland and is really, really, REALLY into sex. Which makes her prefect for James Stirrup, who hails from Liverpool and is literally here because he wants to bed women around the world after escaping the Navy. This guy is hapless and hopeless, and will probably be fired if he doesn’t accidentally leave himself somewhere in France with an accidentally stolen tender. James, like his hair, is an utter uncontrollable mess. After escaping the merchant navy, he is definitely approaching life as if he’s retired – except he’s 27, and now working for Joao. UnfortunatelyJoao has already noticed James’ penchant for cutting corners and taking unauthorized ciggie breaks. Um, who does James think he is – Hannah?!

Lastly there is Travis Michalzik, who’s from Perth, Australia and makes the rookie mistake of addressing Captain Sandy as just plain old “Sandy.” Like they’re pals! And that won’t work this season – not even for Hannah, because Sandy is getting strict – because of Hannah. New Sandy expects professionalism and perfectionism, which is why she’s on Bravo driving around a boat decorated like the inside of Real Housewives Of New Jersey mansion.

Minus Mila’s puking, the crew gets through charter prep without incident and welcomes their first guests. The first charter  traveled to Nice after heading straight from Caroline Manzo‘s Brownstone restaurant, which explains why they don’t have high culinary standards. There is Coors Light to be drank even in the South of France.

Mila is lucky these people are so clueless, compliant, and just happy to be out of South Jersey because for their first lunch she fries up some greasy burgers and smears the buns with straight up Hidden Valley Ranch(!!!!!) while Hannah looked on, horrified. A taste of home for our world-weary travelers? Is Mila Amazon Priming that shit all the way to France? Can you get Hidden Valley in France? Does Stassi Schroeder know this?? Erm… So many questions… So. Many. Questions.

James & Anastasia

Following that spectacular culinary fete,  Joao escorts the guests into town, leaving James and Anastasia as babysitters. Hannah also left them with the simple task of bringing home some fresh milk. Easy right? Wrong! First these Super Troopers lose the guests while wandering around searching for a supermarket (even though James claims he used to live in this very town), then they lose their way back trying to find the boat. Realizing that the guests are standing there, waiting, with no way to contact Joao, James finally radios him to pick them up. Of course James and Anastasia don’t make it to the dock in time for their ride, requiring a second pick up. What exactly was this milk for?! My guess is Hannah’s tea…

Things only sink further into the depths when Captain Sandy strolls down to the galley and spies Mila arranging HARD SHELL TACOS, pulled straight from the package, on a plate. Someone take away her Prime Pantry! Sandy thinks this is an odd choice even for the crew supper, and is shocked into a stupor when Mila unflinchingly informs her that it’s the first course for the guests! Rounded out with a plate of nachos: salsa from a can, sprinkled with canned corn, and topped with pre-shredded cheese melted in the oven!


Hannah is so confused she too is rendered speechless. Cook on, Mila! Hannah and Anastasia wordless decide they will not be serving the nachos.  Good thing Mila was distracted, already onto cooking the steaks for the main. Even though the first course wasn’t even fully on the table. When then faced with lukewarm, overly rested steaks, Mila bustles her way up to the crew mess and pops them into the microwave so they’ll be hot enough to plate. I think my mouth was literally agape…

Last season we had guests who called chicken food for poor people, this season the guests are being served dinner crappier than what I make for my kids (who do not pay for my exalted cooking, I might add!) And most shockingly of all, the guests seemed to be enjoying it! Mila did say the most important thing was giving them what they want.

The only decent thing about this dinner is that it was so appallingly bad it distracted me from paying attention to the surely atrocious table-scape.


[Photo Credits: Bravo]