Below Deck Med Chef Sleeping Scandal: Who Was Right?

Should the new Below Deck Med chef hauled himself out of bed for guests?
Photo Credit: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo via Getty Images

Season 9 of Below Deck Mediterranean just started, and there’s already drama causing debates amongst the cast (and the fans). In the Season 9 premiere, the Mustique’s influencer guests requested some cheesy late-night snacks. Specifically, nachos with guacamole, mac and cheese, and grilled cheese. Stew Elena “Ellie” Dubaich tried to wake up Chef Johnathan “Jono” Shillingford multiple times, but he argued for his right to rest.

Chef Jono had a stressful first day like everyone on the Mustique crew. The provisions disaster meant they couldn’t get lobster by dinner time. This forced him to change up the meal at the last minute. Despite the pressure of improvising with what he had, Jono’s meal was a hit. The guests repeatedly praised the chef’s talents. This may have pushed them to order those late-night snacks. But it also left Jono exhausted by the end of his shift, and unwilling to get out of bed.

When she was informed of this the following day, Captain Sandy Yawn took the chef’s side. The drama continued in Episode 2, as Sandy insisted the stews should never wake a chef. Judging from the reactions to this debate, it’s going to have a ripple effect on the crew’s conflicts all season. Well, that and the intense flirting between Deckhands.

Chef Johnathan tells Chief Stew Aesha he didn’t get out of bed

In Episode 2, Captain Sandy and Chief Stew Aesha Scott tried to get to the bottom of the snack kerfuffle. While Ellie was exhausted, Jono was proud that he stood his ground. “Standing up for myself, it’s always been an issue for me, particularly growing up in the closet,” the chef shared.

When he spoke to Aesha, Jono acknowledged that Ellie was overwhelmed by the guests, who also ordered drinks. But he continued defending his right to sleep, considering how early he got up that day. However, as Aesha pointed out, midnight snacks were included on the guests’ preference sheets. She advised him to prepare better in the future.

Why Captain Sandy sided with Chef Johnathan

Captain Sandy Yawn Below Deck Mediterranean
Photo Credit: Bravo via YouTube

Captain Sandy named lack of preparation as the problem, instead of Jono’s insistence he gets more shut-eye. “The chef usually prepares something for the stews to put in the oven and warm up,” she explained. “He just didn’t have the experience at that point [to know that].” To be fair, however, Jono has several years of experience in the yachting industry.

While Elena was upset that she got scolded, Captain Sandy acknowledged, “Elena did what she thought was right.” However, she warned, “Elena will know not to wake him up again.” Hopefully, Jono will also know to prepare more next time.

Captain Lee disagrees about a chef getting out of bed

Captain Lee Rosbach also chimed in on the debate when a fan asked, “Is it true ‘Never Wake The Chef’?” Captain Lee replied, “If the guests want it and the stews can’t handle it, of course you wake the chef.” He continued, “No it’s not true, at least no on my boat.” However, some fans have long felt that Captain Lee is overly critical of Captain Sandy and the way she runs a boat.

Was the getting out of bed issue resolved?

Photo Credit: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo via Getty Images

In Episode 2, Captain Sandy repeatedly warned the crew to never wake the chef. At the end of their stay, the very gracious guests left a glowing review, despite the many hiccups. Once again, they had extra praise for Jono’s food.

To avoid a repeat of the first night, Captain Sandy had Jono agree to prepare paninis ahead of time for the stews to heat up. Ultimately, Jono apologized to Ellie for how things went down. “The lesson is that I will prepare stuff,” he said, adding, “I’m empathetic that you were under a crazy situation, and I don’t want that to happen to you ever again.” Hopefully, he’ll also apologize for saying, while frustrated over Ellie’s attempts to wake him up, “Bitch, are you stupid? This is not going to be good for you.” 

We’ll have to see if Jono and Ellie can resolve their differences once they get to know each other better. After all, Below Deck Med has a whole new crew bringing the drama to Season 9. As Aesha said, the first day on a new boat is usually a “sh*tshow”. That, along with the provisioners seriously dropping the ball, was probably the biggest issue. At one point, after all, Ellie did say she was up for 25 hours.

Catch Below Deck Mediterranean now streaming on Peacock.