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Kate Chastain

Kate Chastain

Kate Chastain has had to make a life on land for herself after quitting Below Deck last season.  The original chief stew that regaled us for years with her pithy, dry sarcasm is the queen of Bravo talk shows now.  She co-hosts Bravo’s Chat Room with Gizelle Bryant, Porsha Williams, and Hannah Berner.  Kate also appeared on Galley Talk with other Below Deck Alums.

Recently, Kate was looking for some new artwork to adorn her wall for the show.  She attempted to purchase a piece, but found that her supposed clout from Below Deck did not transfer to negotiating a sale with an in demand artist.

Below Deck Reunion Ashton Pienaar

Many Below Deck alums disappear into post-reality TV obscurity.  Ashton Pienaar could have been remembered as the deckhand who entertained his castmates with outrageous Smashton moments and narrowly escaped death when his foot got tangled in a tow line and he was dragged overboard.

Unfortunately, Ashton returned for season 7 as a newly appointed bosun.  His zeal for the job was quickly dampened by lack of management skills and being triggered by Chief Stew Kate Chastain.  Smashton became downright scary and threatening towards Kate and deck hand Rhylee GerberHe had quite a bit of damage control to do at the reunion, and revealed that he had started counseling to deal with issues he identified after watching himself on screen.

Below Deck James Hough Elizabeth Frankini

What do you do when you hate your second stew? There’s no denying the tension in the interior has been building for several charters now. And this week, all of that drama finally starts coming to a head. So if you’re Francesca Rubi, that means making a blatant power play to reassert your control over Elizabeth Frankini. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last eight seasons of Below Deck, it’s that the chief stew always demands respect and deference. And she’ll get it by laying down an iron fist. (Miss you, Kate Chastain!)

Last week’s episode ended with Francesca complaining once again to Captain Lee Rosbach about her underling. Because at this point, there’s nothing Elizabeth could do that Chess won’t find some issue with. I say that recognizing that Elizabeth has certainly made mistakes this season. But I can’t help but root for the underdog in this feud, and Francesca hasn’t exactly been a supportive boss. Last week, Captain Lee warned her that finding a new stew could bring a whole other rash of problems. So instead, she decides she’d rather keep Elizabeth on the boat and punish her another way.

Below Deck Francesca Rubi

What’s the most dire way to kick off a charter? Oh, I’d say without a deckhand. Or better yet, without a chef! And that’s exactly the predicament the Below Deck gang finds themselves in following Shane Coopersmith‘s firing and Rachel Hargrove walking off the boat. One of those exits was entirely expected. The other was absolutely not. But either way, they both leave Captain Lee Rosbach down two crew members and scrambling just hours before the season’s fourth charter.

For obvious reasons, this is a terrible position to be stuck in. Because, sure, you may be able to get through a single charter with one less deckhand. But there’s no way any yacht survives without a chef. Who’s going to make the food? Unlike other seasons in the Below Deck universe, there’s no stew-turned-secret chef to miraculously step up and save the day. And the morning of the charter, Lee can’t even seem to get the yacht staffing agency on the line for help.

Below Deck Ashlinger Lorger Elizabeth Frankini

Many viewers weren’t so sure about this season of Below Deck. The loss of Kate Chastain in the role of chief stewardess certainly has shaken things up. Newest chief stew, Francesca Rubi surely has her own way. She seems, like, *fine* at her job, but she really doesn’t bring any interest. Say what you will about her, but at least Kate brought some intrigue. And we always knew what she was thinking.

Maybe some viewers enjoy the level, balanced, blah that Francesa is bringing. There’s certainly enough other chaos to go around, after all. Yet somehow, in all the insanity, Francesca decides to shoot her shot to have second stew, Elizabeth Frankini, fired. Is she serious? Of course the answer was a firm “maybe, but not now” from Captain Lee Rosbach. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any less engaging in stew-land.

Below Deck recap

Some Below Deck crews are better than others. This season is a perfect example of that. Captain Lee Rosbach is coming through, as usual. And Eddie Lucas‘ comeback season is going well. Other than that, it’s hard to root for most of the Season 8 cast members. Then again, it’s tough to get to know so many new cast members every season, or at least it is for me. It would be a much better show if we actually knew all of the cast members on the season, so we could jump right into watching some drama.

Well, Below Deck alum Kelley Johnson just put together his dream crew. It’s all hypothetical, of course, but it would make for an interesting season if this group actually did come together. Interestingly enough, he didn’t include his sister/fellow Below Deck alum Amy Johnson in his list.

Below Deck Mediterranean Hannah Ferrier

Hannah Ferrier may have been fired from Below Deck Mediterranean, but she is still following the franchise.  Case in point are the Tweets that Hannah shared regarding Below Deck’s new chef, Rachel Hargrove.  She seems to be speaking in support of Rachel after an episode in which Chief Stew Francesca Rubi shaded her uncouth sense of humor.

It’s no epiphany that charter chefs are difficult.  Both Hannah and Kate Chastain struggled to deal with challenging personalities in the galley.  No one more so than Hannah.  She got Mila Kolomeitseva, who licked steaks and used box pancake mixes.  Then there was Tom Checketts and his mansplaining tantrums.  Adam Glick cooked decently, but belittled the interior staff.

Below Deck Captain Lee Rosbach

Is anyone out there starting to feel like this season of Below Deck is perpetually stuck in first gear? For the first couple episodes, I chalked it up to a new crew. After all, we didn’t have Kate Chastain as our fearless leader to get things going. Plus, Captain Lee Rosbach spent almost the entire first episode in the hospital. For the first time, our real fearless leader arrived on My Seanna hobbling and, well, fragile. As a result, everything felt hesitant and uncertain. But at a certain point, you expect everyone to get their sea legs under them and get the show moving. Right?

However, that hasn’t really happened yet. As a result, we’re five episodes deep into the season, and everyone’s insecurities are running rampant on this boat. Captain Lee may be recovering, but the only crew member who really jumped in and dealt with her insecurity was Izzy Wouters. And look at her now! All it took was a change from interior to deck crew and she’s thriving on board. Most of the others? Not so much…