Behind the Scenes on Below Deck: An Interview with Chef Ben

One of our favorite shows to watch  as a family is Below Deck, the adventures of "yachtees" who
This season's Eros -playground of the wealthy!
cater to the rich and famous who charter yachts and island hop.  Let me tell you, it takes a lot to get my husband to watch anything on Bravo (no offense Andy Cohen), but he will not miss an episode of Below Deck.  It is reality TV that is actually fun to watch and you actually get to know the different stews and deck hands who work to make these fantasy jaunts possible.  One of our favorite staff members from the previous two seasons was Chef Ben Robinson, a cheeky, fun, but immensely creative and talented chef who can whip something out of nothing in a galley that is about the size of a walk-in closet.

Chef Ben was not part of the new season but when Chef Leon did not work out, Captain Lee called Ben and he is now back tonight for his first full episode on Eros!  Chef Ben's return was a reason for excitement in our house so I was particularly thrilled to have the opportunity to pick his brain and share some of his insights with you.  This post is for the Below Deck fans- but I will be posting separately on Chef Ben's latest post-Eros project that focuses of healthy eating in a balanced and holistic way.

I was torn between wanting the inside scoop on this season's drama on the crew, but this is, after all, a food blog, so I tried to ask questions that I wanted to know about. Here are my questions and some of the info Ben shared:

Were you surprised to be called by Captain Lee to come to Eros?
Ben: I was happily surprised to hear from Captain Lee, its always great to work with him.. And he provides the colorful charter seasons..

What is the greatest challenge in working in a yacht galley?
Ben: Space is always challenging, and when the boat is moving it makes your job much harder
The Eros galley- where food and drama are served in equal portions!

What is one piece of equipment you can’t live without in the kitchen?
Ben: I love having an ice-cream machine, it makes great dessert pairings.

What is the most-requested meal ingredient?
It really depends on where you are, and what season it is.. For instance, the Mediterranean in the summer, will be demanding of truffles, the Caribbean in the winter will demand for conch and spiny lobsters..

What was the most unusual request you got from a charter guest?

Your favorite dish to cook? To eat?
Ben: I love Asian fusion.. Its clean, healthy and can be incredibly flavorful...

Have you been watching this season and what are your impressions about the Eros crew?
Ben: I’ve actually been abroad in Greece,  on a yacht… I’ve heard rumors of it being very
A young Chef Ben with his catch!

Who would you want to switch jobs with on the yacht?
Ben: Sometimes when I'm absolutely inundated in work and desperately scrounging for creative insight, I think, wouldn’t it be nice to be polishing a window on deck right now. But then I realize I’d bored in about 10 minutes and run back to the action...

What is Captain Lee really like (this question was submitted by a reader when he heard I was interviewing you.)
Ben: Captain Lee is a very kind, loving, family man. People take him the wrong way sometimes, he is in charge of a very serious operation, sometimes you have to be stern and lay down the law..

Want to see Ben in action? He will be on Below Deck tonight and every Tuesday night until the Eros docks for the season!  And come back to hear about his latest venture-integrative nutrition!


Kris Letcher said…
My first question that comes to mind for chef Ben is if he ever gets sea sick. I found the galley the worst place to be for sea sickness. If so how does he cope when cooking for others?
Deborah Dowd said…
Good question- hopefully I will get another chance to ask him!