‘Below Deck:’ This May Be Why Chef Ben Won’t Be Returning to the Show

Below Deck Mediterranean fans were hoping Chef Ben Robinson would swoop in and save the day, much like he did during season three of Below Deck.

When Chef Leon Walker was fired, Robinson suddenly appeared and finished the season strong. He was also the chef during season four of Below Deck. But once that season wrapped, Robinson made it clear he was taking a (long) break from being a superyacht chef.

Chef Ben Robinson |Photo by Virginia Sherwood/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Despite sending a formal statement to Bravo, fans still thought maybe Robinson would be the new chef. Especially after a photo emerged with Robinson and the crew from the current season of Below Deck Med.

Robinson won’t be the chef this season

Viewers now know that third stew Anastasia Surmava was appointed to become the chef after Chef Mila Kolomeitseva was fired. But until then, fans still thought Robinson was on his way, even though the crew insisted he was not.

Robinson also told Bravo’s The Daily Dish he would not return after season four. “I’ve decided to take a break from the show this season. I will continue to focus on my career as a chef and holistic nutritionist, and I’ll have a lot of exciting news on these fronts soon!”

Of course, never say never, which Robinson knows. “The door is always open for Below Deck, and I wish the crew all the best with the upcoming season.”

He also offered this clue

A Twitter fan asked Robinson why yacht chefs tend to get so stressed on charter. “I love below deck, and the chefs are amazing but why do they freak out so much!! If they were in a restaurant they would be doing a 100+ covers a night!! It’s only a table of 8 fussy fu**ers!!”

Robinson’s response may have offered a clue as to why viewers haven’t seen him on Below Deck since 2017. “Most Charter Chefs have a 5 year expectancy. I did it for 13. Head chef on the largest #yacht age 28. Crew and guest require 300 plates a day on #BelowDeckMediterranean#BelowDeck on your own… We look forward to your job application.”

One yacht chef told Vice anonymously about how being a yacht chef paid well but could be lonely. “There are months of just working away, sometimes feeling disconnected from friends back home, and accruing wages for when you have a chance to spend them,” the yacht chef admitted. “But I’m also in the position to make decisions off the cuff to fly home and cook a massive crab dinner for 40 friends, or go to New Orleans for a food reccy.”

A stressful job

Some chefs find the job to be more stressful on sea than on land. Chefs responded to a thread on Dockwalk about the job, citing demands are pretty intense.

One chef commented that other positions, while stressful, still have breaks and some downtime. “From the galley I’d argue no one works as consistently hard as a Chef, guest trips, crossing, yard period you let me know when a proper period of downtime is? Similar amounts of effort are required day in day out to produce food as opposed to having the luxury of skulking off into an office to do accounts or hiding in the laundry,” the yacht chef commented.

The chef added, “All other departments get lulls throughout a year whereas as someone above stats they want it (food) ontime, each day, variety etc. Sure, we all choose our roles and Chefs are hopefully remunerated accordingly but the demands are likely why there will be a definite shortage of chefs. Spare a thought whether or not they work alone it can get pretty lonely too.”