Something sure is fishy about what’s going on in the kitchen on Below Deck Mediterranean. As is often the case with Below Deck, almost all the heated happenings occur with the chef (and the chief stew), and Mila Kolomeitseva is at least not disappointing in the drama department. Or is she?
Is it too much when a person goes on an internationally screened reality TV show and makes openly homophobic remarks, then only apologizes once she gets tired of people shaming her? I think it is. I’m not saying anyone on reality TV should be living as an example of morality (clearly not), or be considered a role model (or even a good person), but should we be allowing them to be maligning entire groups of people? Maybe I have no business judging or questioning the gods of Reality TV (aka Bravo producers). After all we’ve already had people fake cancer, go to prison, sexually harass, make racist comments, get in belligerent fights, cheat on their spouses…
Usually I cringe a bit when I watch the below deckers blowing their hard-earned tip money at restaurants and bars, but knowing that Mila’s offerings are their only source of sustenance, I fully condone it. Like she literally served them a few wilted salads for dinner. These people are working hard to maintain this floating toilet – they need carbs!
As it happens Mila even ruins meals she isn’t preparing. Her homophobic comment ripped through dinner like farts after eating canned beans. Travis Michalzik won’t even sit near her at dinner, and the tale of her homophobic comments makes the rounds. First Aesha Scott tells Anastasia Surmava, who follows Hannah Ferrier into the bathroom to report on what was said in the van. Hannah is disgusted. She can deal with Mila being a less than decent chef if she’s a good person, but a bad person and a bad chef: off with her head!
Finally everyone heard what happened except for Jaoa Franco. Eventually even Mila, ignored at the end of the table, hearing her name whispered amid glares, realizes she’s persona non-grata to everyone except Jack Stirrup. Jack will put up with “sexy Hitler” if it means the possibility of getting laid. I think we’re all supposed to hate him, but is it just me who can’t find it within myself to? This guy is adorable despite his personality and ethics being one big giant flaw.
Mila the melting ice sculpture continues to be avoided even once everyone is wasted at the “yachtie bar,” a place where yacht personnel congregate to swap seafaring stories and all manner of trans-continental germs. As Aesha dry humps Jack on the dance floor like something out of a Dirty Dancing dream porn sequence, Mila tracks Travis down and tries to apologize. Why? She’s not actually sorry her viewpoints are heinous, she’s sorry she’s being ignored. And Mila will remain a “waste of oxygen: now and forever, confirmed when she intercepts Hannah ranting to Joao about how she can’t work with someone who disgusts her. Joao too is shocked by Mila’s comments. He tears up explaining how the harsh attitude towards homosexuality in ‘Zim caused a family friend to commit suicide.
Let’s talk about what’s going on with Joao for a second. Last season he was Jezabob, destroyer of women’s hearts and in general douche-canoe, a water toy Captain Sandy Yawn could never quite get the guests to float on. This season he is mature, centered and entirely focused on work to the point where he’s even thoughtful to Hannah. In fact I don’t think Joao even got drunk on this rowdy first night out, but he did stay up long enough to put the overgrown kids to bed and then clean up after their mess in the kitchen. Did Brooke Laughton really, true dismantle Joao’s arrogance? If so, the women of the world, thank you Brooke!
With less than 10 hours to go until Captain Sandy‘s friend Dr. Jennifer Berman returns for a revenge charter, the crew is up bright and early to work hard. OK, well everyone but Jack is up and ready to work. He strolls in, freshly showered, at 10:10 am and is unperturbed by Joao’s rebuke as he helps himself to the first of many cuppas.
Considering that last time Jen’s group wasn’t even able to leave the dock due to weather, Captain Sandy understandably wants everything to go perfectly for their second voyage. In the preference sheet meeting Sandy reminds Mila that food needs to be up to standard and asks Joao to have one of the deck hands help in the kitchen. On Jen’s last visit Hannah couldn’t even manage to get Sandy dry toast in a timely manner, so she too is on high alert about redemption service. Hannah warns the stews that “over communication” is better than doing a less than top notch job. When did Hannah hit her head and turn professional?
Things start off badly when Colin Macy-O’Toole falls climbing into a tender to pull out some lines. Joao screamed “COOOOOLLLIIIIIN” as if he watched his child sink into the ocean, then dove head-first into the tendered to rescue him. Colin suffered from a scraped elbow so naturally he needed to take 3 days off for a swollen foot and go to the doctor twice.
Things go from bad to worse when Jack sneaks off for a smoke break seconds before Jen steps on board, and in the process leaves a pile of clean towels laying on the boat floor. I kept waiting for them to trip over them while touring the boat, but if it happened production didn’t have time to squeeze it in in between all the footage of Mila fucking up food. For instance lunch when Mile busts out a buffet of canned crab, seasoned with Hellman’s mayo squeezed from a plastic jar, and frozen shrimp thrown on a bed of pineapple (probably canned).
I can’t tell if Hannah looks surprised or dubious as she brings the plates out and sets them on an enormous lazy susan. I was distracted noticing that the food was at least semi-decently plated this time. I mean it wasn’t Chef Adrian or Chef Ben classy, but it wasn’t Chef Boyardee bad for once! Until the guests ate it, that is. Jen immediately pronounces the crab “fishy” and wonders if that’s how French crab tastes. The guests unanimously decide they will not be eating it. When Sandy comes to inquire Jen describes lunch as “icky” and wonders why the shrimp is slimy. Sandy hisses to Hannah to get the fish off the table, and with the guests worried they’ll get food poisoning they all ask for grilled cheese.
Back in the galley Sandy seems almost afraid to question Mila. Like Mila might start grinding up glass or ipekek to put in the guest’s food, but Sandy has to find out of if they ordered bad fish or a bad chef. Turns out it’s the latter. Mila admits to using frozen shrimp from Vietnam. Doen’t this woman taste her food? Or maybe it doesn’t matter since she has bad taste. With lunch ruined, Anastasia is brought in to help Mila whip up the grilled cheese. No one is much interested in trying Mila’s pana cotta dessert – which actually looked OK. Mila seems defeated, which is why you know dinner is gonna be a mess.
While the guests are enjoying the water toys (and LOTS of drinks and smokes) – including a new water bike Sandy ordered that Jack agonized over assembling (even though he’s an engineer) and Aesha tells charming tories about that one time she stuck her finger up her own butt to learn where poop comes from (in fairness she was 8; in totally justified harsh judgment she told this story while the crew was eating some sloppy salads for lunch) – Sandy and Hannah strategize over how to save dinner. The decision is made to bring Anastasia into the kitchen to act as sous chef, aka babysit Mila when things go hot-dogs-in-a-bun-main-course off the the rails.
Anastasia is honored, excited, and then nervous. She needs constant praise and validation! She needs to know she is always the best! She needs a trophy for showing up! She also needs one of Mila’s chef coats, and that doesn’t go over well. Anastasia proposes a citrus salad for the starter to pair with Mila’s main of a steak over asparagus with some sort of mash. Real inspired I tell you. Real French cuisine!
The air in the galley is tense. Anastasia on one side, Mila on the other. Like an episode of Iron Chef Amateurs. The appeatizer turns out to be the multiple vibrators Dr. Jen is giving out as party favors at the dinner table. Sandy tries to appear enthusiastic with her present of a vibrator version of an Alexa, which starts to know you personally, inside and out, like an A.I. gynecologist. Too bad Sandy has the same look on her face one gets when served Mila’s food. Aesha is more than happy to take it off her hands.
The guest turn out to love Anastasia’s salad. Which is good, because she was glued to the security cams watching them eat, practically ready to leap through the screens to stab them if they didn’t lick their plates. When it comes time to serve the main, the microwave is occupied so Mila has to actually prepare the steaks on the stove. As the two squabble for dominance over plating, Mila ignores Anastasia’s warning that the steaks will be over cooked if she lets them rest in the pan. (Anastasia was right).
When Captain Sandy comes to ask Jen how dinner tastes, she notices several steaks untouched and is told that they’re just OK – fine, but not great – and some are overcooked. Sandy finds herself between a rock and a hard place: she needs a chef, preferably one who can cook, and since they’re mid-charter so the decision is made to keep Anastasia in the kitchen throughout the remainder of charter, which irritates the deck crew who are now pulled in to help with the interior duties. Travis is especially furious that he’s stuck doing dishes for Mila.
Next week it looks like Mila and Anastasia majorly bump heads and someone thinks Steak Tartarte is still a delicacy and furthermore a good idea on a boat where one is already prone to sea sickness.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK ANASTASIA IS QUALIFIED TO TAKE OVER FROM MILA?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]