Captain Lee from ‘Below Deck’ Says The Chef Does Not Outrank The Chief Stew

Captain Lee Rosbach from Below Deck weighed in on a discussion about rank when new Below Deck Mediterranean chef Tom Checketts was deemed to have a higher rank.

A viewer tweeted the question about rank to Rosbach. “Uh, sorry but the bosun doesn’t outrank the Chief Stew, check the stripes and the Chef doesn’t out rank the Chief Stew, they may be equal, and on some giga yachts the Chef is under the chief stew and the purser. Just wanted you to have the correct info,” Rosbach replied.

Captain Sandy Yawn
Captain Sandy Yawn|Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo

Rank became a topic of discussion when Checketts joined the crew as the new chef. As bosun Malia White’s boyfriend, White wanted to share a cabin with Checketts. However, White was currently rooming with chief stew Hannah Ferrier. Ferrier was uncomfortable sharing a cabin with second stew Christine “Bugsy” Drake and wanted to leave the room assignments alone.

When White complained to Captain Sandy Yawn, Yawn said they could make the switch. “Tom just did us a favor,” Yawn said in a confessional. “At the end of the day, the chef gets to pick his cabin because the chef has rank over everybody downstairs.”

Does the chef outrank the chief stew?

According to Superyacht Crew Agency, the position of chef outranks the chief stew. Chef Ben Robinson bickered with chief stew Kate Chastain from Below Deck in the past about rank, asserting that he outranked her when she’d try to give him direction.

However, as Rosbach mentioned, sometimes the chief stew and chef may have the same rank. When the chief stew is considered to be the purser, the rank is the same as chef. The purser role is typically found on larger yachts. “The purser is responsible for all operations in the interior department, which include inventory, purchasing and provisioning, accounting, organising guest activities, working closely with guests and crew, and assisting the Captain with the yachts paperwork,” according to Superyacht Crew Agency.

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Chastain previously addressed the role of rank. “Captain is the highest rank, and then there’s a first mate,” she said on the Mouthing Off with Olivia Caridi podcast. “And we have those on the boat on the show, but they’re not on camera. Then chief stew is kind of up there. And the chef is actually pretty high up on the ranking but not really because they don’t have anybody below them. They’re in their own solar system.”

Rank is a big deal on ‘Below Deck’

Chastain also shared that without rank on the boat, “it’d be chaos.” She added, “In real jobs, I would never be, like, so rank-obsessed,” Chastain said. “But it took me a while when I started working on yachts in real life to understand why rank was important. I kinda thought that anybody who had a higher rank in life and used it was such a jerk.”

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“It’s why the military has rank, it’s similar for yachting,” she said. “Because we’re out in the ocean, and it’s for safety, it’s for order. And once that clicked in my head, why organization, in general, is so important, it really helped me in my real life.”