Kate Chastain had a unique demeanor as Chief Stew on Below Deck. She was impeccable at her job, and that allowed her some confidence to let her personality through in the midst of chaotic situations. Her pithy comments and dry sense of humor gave us viewers many chuckles throughout her six seasons on the show.
When Kate decided to leave, it was after a hectic, volatile season. It would be hard to blame her. The aggressive manner Ashton Pienaar acted after imbibing too much on a crew night out was unsettling. His alter ego Smashton went after the windows in the van. It was the catalyst of a long season of the bosun and Chef Kevin Dobson acting resentful of Kate for supposedly being favored by Captain Lee Rosbach.
According to Us Weekly, Kate finished the season, and officially quit in February 2020. She made the announcement as a satire of the one Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released during Megxit. “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,” Kate said,”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.”
One reason for her withdrawal was the shocking altercation she had with Ashton in the van. Kate shared her reaction at the time that episode aired. She said, “I was scared but also just in shock. I was in a place where I could not have escaped if I wanted to. I played possum, just froze and held still. Why is [Ashton] so mad right now? Why is he punching windows? Why is everybody screaming stop the van? What’s he gonna do? What is happening? It all kinda happened really fast.”
“I just have learned the hard way, unfortunately, that when somebody gets violent, it’s better just to remove yourself from the situation because you don’t know if they’re gonna get worse,” Kate said of her decision to leave the yacht that night during a January 2020 interview.
Captain Lee would have been a useful ally in that moment, but Kate feared further alienation from the group if she told Lee what went down in the van.
Kate explained, “I already felt like the crew was accusing me of getting preferential treatment — which I don’t, I work very hard — so I felt like if I told Captain Lee what Ashton did, he would have fired him. And then they would have turned it around and been like, ‘Oh, Kate got Ashton fired.’ So it wasn’t really in anyone’s benefit.”
She was right. Captain Lee said he absolutely would have fired Ashton on the spot, “I wouldn’t give him another chance. I don’t get that feeling of sincerity for him or any remorse at all. It’s just not there, and I’m generally a pretty good judge of that.”
Ashton made a good show of an apology during the Below Deck reunion though. He groveled to no end. “I was completely drunk, I was out of my mind, I’m sorry for that,” Ashton told Kate at the reunion, “I hate the fact that everything has been spun the way it is. But you know what, I have to take responsibility for that because I’m the one that behaved the way I did.”
It’s interesting to note that Ashton also moved away from yachting when filming wrapped. His statement during the reunion indicated a hunger for change, and now he markets himself on social media as a personal trainer. During the reunion he said, “I’m making serious changes in my life because I’m not proud of the person I saw on camera that night. And I am extremely sorry. I have amazing relationships with all the women in my life. The way everything has turned out and the way everything has turned out in the real world now and the labels I’m being labeled with, I’m extremely ashamed of.”
While Ashton has NOT be asked to return to the show in any capacity, Kate most certainly has. She’s been a staple since Season Two after all. But after spending some time on land and working on new projects, like appearing on Below Deck Galley Talk, Kate has a decided answer.
Kate revealed to Us Weekly that, “it would take a lot of money. I would take a page out of Ben Robinson’s book. There was a couple of seasons where he would come in as the save the day guy for, like, one, maybe two [episodes]. That’s the only way I would ever consider it.”
Kate is, of course, referring to the incident in which Ben stepped in after Captain Sandy Yawn fired Mila Kolomeitseva. Third Stew Anastasia Surmava stepped in for a few charters with recipes and techniques she learned from her mother until Ben arrived to finish the season. It’s an interesting thought, though never in Below Deck history has a chief stew quit mid-season.
But all the things we love about Kate can be experienced by watching her on Below Deck Galley Talk. She gets to spin out her one-liners while watching footage from the show. What could be better? “It is ideal,” Kate said, “I gotta say I’m really enjoying the show. I see why people like it so much and I like it even better sitting on a couch, drinking a glass of wine. This is, like, the best way to watch Below Deck.”
TELL US- WHAT DO YOU THINK OF KATE ON GALLEY TALK? WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HER RETURN TO BELOW DECK? DID SHE MAKE A GOOD DECISION TO LEAVE AFTER THE SEASON WITH ASHTON?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]