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Why Did Below Deck’s Chef Rachel Just Quit?

Photo: Bravo

Captain Lee Rosbach’s crew was already down one member early into Below Deck’s December 14 episode, after Rosbach fired deckhand Shane Coopersmith following a slew of offenses. But by the end of the episode, the crew’s problems multiplied when yacht chef Rachel Hargrove quit less than 24 hours before a charter. The crew had received a particularly demanding preference sheet from some upcoming guests, with a myriad of food requests, including extravagant breakfasts, multiple themed parties, and a ten-course dinner. Here are some more requests from a closer look at their preference sheets:

Turndown service should also include something by the bedside table from the Chef, Bryan loves amuse bouche and also needs them while changing for dinner too.

Primary Bryan has requested white glove service for all dinners. Gentleman servers should be wearing bowties and may be shirtless.

On Night 1 of their charter, this group would like a Mardi Gras-themed dinner party, complete with authentic New Orleans cuisine.

After dinner on Night 1, Bryan and his guests want the yacht crew to throw a ‘Midnight Romper’ party for them with copious amounts of “appetizers and finger foods and munchies and crunchies.”

On Day 2 of their charter, Bryan has requested an extremely formal English high tea at 4pm, fit for royalty. Do NOT go easy on the decor for this one. He wants fruit dipped in chocolate, like fresh figs and strawberries decorated in black and white tuxedo chocolate outfits.

And that’s just the part of the sheet we could see onscreen! After reading the preference sheets, Hargrove said, “Eat my cooter.” She said she’d only do all that work for a client as a personal private chef (as opposed to her more general role as a yacht chef), to the tune of $16,000 a month. “Until then, I don’t play that game. So no.” When Rosbach asked her to explain, she added, “I’m sorry, but the ostentatious bullshit, and then they fucking tack that onto one chef. Suck my dick.” Rosbach replied that she should talk to the guests first, and Hargrove responded, “Go fuck yourself.” “I’d rather not do that,” he replied. “No, I love you,” Hargrove explained. “I respect you guys. But that bullshit? I’m out.”

As Hargrove packed, Rosbach called her into the bridge for a final meeting, trying to convince her to stay for the first lunch and dinner and buy him some time to hire a new chef. But she held her position and left the boat, and the episode ended with her riding away in a van. It’s one of just a few times on Below Deck when a crew member has walked off the show — and unlike the deck crew or stews, there isn’t anyone else to cover for the chef. When Rosbach fired chef Leon Walker in the middle of season three, he chose to leave before the end of that charter, and third stew Rocky Dakota had to step up as chef. Something similar happened when Captain Sandy Yawn fired chef Mila Kolomeitseva early into Below Deck Mediterranean season four, with third stew Anastasia Surmava stepping up for a charter.

But both of those temporary replacements had culinary experience, which no one in Rosbach’s crew seems to have this season. A clip from the next episode on Bravo’s website shows Rosbach still trying to hire a chef the next morning, with four hours before the charter begins. “We’re in high season in Antigua, so any chef that’s worth a damn is already working,” Rosbach explains in the video. “We’ve got very demanding guests arriving within a couple of hours. I need a charter chef that’s capable of everything on this guy’s preference sheet. We’re screwed.”

Except maybe not. On December 14’s Watch What Happens Live, former longtime Below Deck chief stew Kate Chastain shared her thoughts on it all, after having worked with Hargrove on previous yachts. “I wasn’t surprised,” Chastain told Andy Cohen. “When we worked together, years and years ago, I think she quit at least three times — but came back the next day.” Could we see a return from Hargrove in the next episode? Take it from the woman who left herself last season, only to return the next morning.

Why Did Below Deck’s Chef Rachel Just Quit?