‘Below Deck’: This Charter Guest Says Chef Kevin Cost the Crew ‘Thousands of Dollars’ in Tip Money

Below Deck charter guest Justine Vastano shared that the reason the crew didn’t receive a better tip was because chef Kevin Dobson served “diner food” during the charter.

Vastano and Dobson clashed during the charter when she tried to give him advice on the food. Vastano is a private chef in Charleson, South Carolina. But, after seeing that Dobson was missing the mark, she visited him in the kitchen to suggest he go higher end with his dishes. After she left, Dobson seemed furious and brushed off any suggestions or advice she offered.

Kate Chastain, Courtney Skippon, Simone Mashile, Kevin Dobson, Tanner Sterback, Ashton Pienaar, Brian de Saint Pern, Rhylee Gerber
Kate Chastain, Courtney Skippon, Simone Mashile, Kevin Dobson, Tanner Sterback, Ashton Pienaar, Brian de Saint Pern, Rhylee Gerber | Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

However, when the guests later noticed that Dobson was delivering the type of fare they anticipated, Vastano returned to the kitchen to offer praise and apologize. But he was still angry. He avoided making any eye contact with her and told stew Courtney Skippon to leave the garnish off Vastano’s dish.

His food (or attitude) cost the crew

Despite food snafus and one guest riding the couch for a few nights, the Charleston crew still left a healthy tip of $17,700 ($1,600 per crew member). But Vastano says the tip could have been better but Dobson blew it. “So yeah … great professionalism,” Vastano said in her Instagram story. “I thought when I was entering the kitchen that I was going to be speaking to a professional. Not some high school girl.”

“Everybody on the boat was calling his food cracker ball soup not matzo ball soup,” she continues. “Because it tasted like saltines thrown into soup. Worst pizza they’d ever tasted. Didn’t know why we were eating diner food on this luxury vacation that we all paid the same amount for and we were all expecting a similar experience for.”

“But uh … yeah … good job Kevin,” she says giving the camera a thumbs up. “On taking thousands off of everybody’s tip because we really wanted to leave more. But we couldn’t. Because of you.”

She also shades his comments about her background

Dobson referred to Vastano as an “Instagram chef” and rolled his eyes about her qualifications. When she saw him call her an Instagram chef she said, “Let’s go. One, I don’t take pictures of all of my food because I’m busy working and serving my food at the correct temperature.”

“Two, I said to Kevin’s face that my job is nowhere near as demanding as his. I’m a private chef, I didn’t choose to work on a charter where I have to please people 24/7. Three, I went to the French Culinary Institute.”

She adds, “Four. What separates a cook from a chef is their demeanor, their sanitation, and their overall professionalism. I went into the kitchen to say ‘Hey listen, sorry if I made you uncomfortable last night. You did a great job last night and I knew you could step it up.’ And he chose to not look me in the eye, say ‘F**k her’ and tell Courtney not to garnish my food as everybody else got garnished.” Vastano also shared the clip of Dobson learning she was a private chef during the preference sheet meeting. ‘She’s a private chef,” he asks in the episode looking annoyed. “Well, whatever.” Vastano added that Dobson had it out for her even before the charter began.