The role of chief stew on a superyacht requires the person in leadership to wear many hats, and Below Deck fans have seen both pitfalls and successes from the different chief stews of the franchise.
In total, between Below Deck, Below Deck Med, and Below Deck Sailing Yacht, viewers have seen eight different chief stews on their TV screens and it hasn’t all been pretty.
Operating with little sleep, managing the interior team, putting guests’ needs first, and always having a stew face on are some of the biggest responsibilities a chief stew has. How well they are able to do their job dictates whether the charter will be successful and if the team as a whole will secure a good tip.
Fans of Below Deck have witnessed tears, meltdowns, miscommunications, hurt feelings, inappropriate moments in leadership, and confrontations that have separated some of the more champion stews from the ones that have room for improvement.
This list ranks the eight Below Deck chief stews from best to worst and considers their work ethic, ability to run their team, crew opinions, popular opinion, and season success.
The chief stew position is very demanding and each of the women on this list should get the praise they deserve for carrying out such a rigorous and unique job, and while none of them have had it easy, there were some that rose above better than others.
1. Katie Flood
While Below Deck Mediterranean viewers have only seen Katie Flood on Season 6, she totally won the hearts of fans and the crew and was able to create amazing experiences for the guests of the charter season.
Katie has been widely praised for her ability to multitask and for her managerial style that was neither overbearing, condescending, or unhelpful. She provided encouragement to everyone on the yacht as well.
Katie also demonstrated the ability to call out issues respectfully and make effective changes to operations as evidenced by her handling of the toxic situation with Lexi.
While her decision to remain down a stew instead of taking help from Delaney Evans was controversial, she was able to pull it off with her second stew Courtney Veale and it didn’t impact the rest of the crew too much.
2. Daisy Kelliher
It was just announced that Daisy Kelliher will be back for Season 3 of Below Deck Sailing Yacht after receiving generally favorable reviews during Season 2.
Stewardesses Alli Dore and Dani Soares under Daisy thought very highly of her and she took the time to make friends with them off charter. Their close-knit bond enhanced their work performance that much more.
When Daisy did encounter issues on charter, like when they had to cater to nine guests, she spoke up about implementations she felt would make the charters run smoother. While her ideas weren’t always received well, her ability to take the initiative was done with good intentions.
The other point of contention for Daisy was how she dealt with her differences with chef Natasha De Bourg as the two headstrong women had several erroneous miscommunications that affected the charter. Daisy took some of her issues to Captain Glen which didn’t go over well with Natasha but they were able to have mostly successful charters once they established boundaries.
3. Kate Chastain
Kate Chastain has been a very popular, but also controversial, figurehead within the Below Deck franchise during her six-season tenure as chief stew.
Kate was almost always successful in providing the charter guests with a fantastic experience regardless of the drama that was boiling over with her stews, chef, or other crew members.
Kate demonstrated that she was a master at all the stew duties but fell short when it came to actually teaching her stews anything they wanted to learn.
Kate did have questionable moments in leadership like sneaking off the boat during charter to spend the night with a guy, talking badly about Jenn Howell to guests, and leaving the boat and not communicating with Captain Lee after a blow-up with Ashton Pienaar.
She also sabotaged chef Kevin Dobson when she purposely didn’t tell him the primary charter guest who requested an elaborate penis cake had gone to bed leading to an awkward moment between Kevin and the guests who were not expecting the cake.
The famous incident Kate had with charter guest Mr. Slover where she folded his decorative throw blanket into a penis after he called her a b***h was also an example of her questionable judgment.
Nonetheless, Kate is a beloved Below Deck chief stew for her quick wit, assertive leadership style, and ability to plow through any obstacle that arose.
4. Heather Chase
Heather Chase is currently appearing on Season 9 of Below Deck where she has been mired in controversy most of the season for her use of the N-word in front of Rayna Lindsey who has escalated the situation both on the yacht and online.
Heather’s job performance has been commendable for the most part as far as duties being fulfilled and mostly happy guests.
Where Heather has received criticism outside of the N-word controversy, was in her condescending attitude with Captain Lee and offering him up to renew vows for the charter guests without his permission.
Second stew Fraser Olender was not a fan of Heather’s managerial style at first but has since eased into it while many viewers felt Heather did nothing to rectify the worsening situation with Jessica Albert before she ultimately left the boat.
Heather also copped an inappropriate tone with a charter guest after their preference sheet was ignored. Heather told the guest that they were the one who messed up but later realized the guest was right but it left a sour taste in many viewers’ mouths.
5. Francesca Rubi
Francesca Rubi was widely disliked by Below Deck fans who watched Season 8 for her inability to multitask and delegate duties well while having meltdowns and misplacing blame for things going awry.
Many Below Deck viewers thought Francesca bullied Elizabeth and chef Rachel Hargrove was very vocal during the season and online about how tasteless she found Francesca to be.
Francesca gave Elizabeth her second stew stripes only to take them away later in the charter season after what many viewers thought was her unfair treatment of Elizabeth.
Between her catty behavior, failed leadership approach, and disorganized managerial style, Francesa has gotten a spot toward the bottom of the list.
6. Hannah Ferrier
Hannah broke a lot of rules during her five-season tenure on Below Deck Mediterranean and her reputation suffered because of it.
Aside from being called lazy by several crewmates, Hannah hooked up with a guest, took a ton of smoke breaks, let her relationship with Conrad Empson affect her work performance negatively, and most famously got fired for bringing drugs onboard without a prescription.
Hannah did not get along with many of her stewardesses and chefs, would take on a nasty attitude if anyone challenged her, and was unwilling to direct her stews when it was clear that they needed direction.
While parts of Hannah’s personality were charismatic to guests and sometimes the crew, she made it difficult for others to be around her because she often carried negative opinions about a bevy of things related and unrelated to the charter season.
7. Adrienne Gang
While some viewers thought Season 1 of Below Deck’s chief stew Adrienne Gang wasn’t given a fair chance because she had such disrespectful and argumentative stews under her, most thought she was not a good fit in a leadership role.
Adrienne’s inability to control the stews under her seriously undermined her capability on charter and made it painful for viewers to watch as she tried to navigate her chief stew position.
She also received criticism for an incident where she didn’t protect Kat against sexual harassment from a guest.
8. Jenna MacGillivray
Jenna MacGillivray professed at the beginning of Season 1 of Below Deck Sailing that she came up through the stewardess ranks, “like a Godd**n Navy Seal,” but she ended up falling flat to her crew and viewers with her behavior and disastrous relationship with chef Adam Glick.
Many fans who watched the show found her to be checked out, lazy, cruel, vindictive, and emotionally abusive.
All of her toxic traits were apparent not only in her negative relationship with Adam but also in the way she treated her stews.
It became clear that Jenna’s connection with Adam affected her ability to carry out her job but viewers had to watch the ugliness play out for the entire season and to the detriment of the stewardesses.
What are your thoughts on the Below Deck chief stews’ performances?
Below Deck airs Mondays at 8/7c on Bravo.