Fraser Olender
(Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images)

Below Deck’s Fraser Olender Says It Took “Some Time” To Get Used To Captain Sandy Yawn

We’ve just been teased with the siren song of Captain Lee Rosbach’s voice on the latest episode of Below Deck.  Just to remind us that it is meant to be him at the helm of motoryacht St. David. Captain Sandy Yawn stepped in as interim boss when Lee’s mobility issues forced him back to shore. And we want our Stud of the Sea back.

Shortly after his departure was aired, Captain Lee confirmed that he was able to return to finish the season. So, we watch and wait.

In the meantime, Captain Sandy made big moves by firing deck/stew Camille Lamb. She called Captain Lee after the fact to brief him on the situation. That short interaction refreshed our enthusiasm for Captain Lee’s return. But until he is back, we must make do with Sandy and her micro-managerial style.

Sandy’s approach to past crews has been under scrutiny. She’s been accused of being overly involved in team drama. Sandy seems to hover in the galley looking for any weakness in her chef. Rachel Hargrove has been taking the heat as of late. The mid-season trailer indicates that chef stew Fraser Olender is next.

Fraser spoke to Us Weekly about the remainder of the season and how he navigated the managerial waters with Captain Sandy. “I think they have, overall, very different management styles,” Fraser said of the two captains. “I knew Captain Lee and I knew how he worked. I knew how he liked things to be run. He also trusted me and he gave me the confidence to be creative and enjoy my take on [it],” he added.

Fraser admitted that it “took some time” to acclimate to Sandy. Fraser said he had to “get used to” her expectations.

“But, equally, she taught me a lot about myself and I think at the end of the season [you’ll] understand what I mean by that,” Fraser explained. “She really opened my eyes to things I previously wouldn’t have dealt with so well — without her making sure I did.”

Lee, who has been captain on Below Deck since 2013, left the boat in an unprecedented turn of events earlier in the season. For Fraser, who had a rapport with Lee from a previous season, having Rachel onboard was a huge comfort in the transition process. He explained, “I absolutely loved working with her. She was a sense of security for me coming back this season with everything that was on my plate. She was there to sort of pat my back and she was a huge part of me making it through this season successfully,” Fraser added.

He continued, “I think that all chefs are in their own rights hot-headed and tricky. I think the best skill I’ve learned is how to deal with a chef and how to say things when you should say them and when [to] wait for the right time on things.”

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While Sandy may have issues with how Rachel runs her galley, Fraser is “totally in awe” of her. He gushed, “I think if you can provide this sort of excellence for charter guests — as well as your crew — for six weeks it is pretty mesmerizing. She’s a very talented chef.”

Former chief stews reached out to Fraser to offer advice. Kate Chastain, who worked with Captain Lee for five seasons, and Fraser are friends. Below Deck Sailing Yacht maven Daisy Kelliher offered some tips, as well as former cast member Hannah Ferrier.

“I am very fortunate to now be good friends with Kate, who was an idol of mine. [Kate] and Hannah both gave me fantastic advice,” Fraser explained. “Daisy [Kelliher] now is a good friend, so she’s been giving me some tips of the trade.” But advice can’t prepare a person for real-life experience in the industry, and Fraser alluded to the challenges in his interview.

“It’s all well and dandy getting all this fantastic information,” Fraser said. “But when you’re thrown onto that boat and you’ve got 24 hours to make what cannot even be considered a super into a super standard for guests — it all just goes out the window. But no, everyone’s been very supportive and I’m so grateful to have these wonderful people in my life.”

It will be interesting to see what happens between Captain Sandy and Fraser as the season continues.


[Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images]