There’s a new Below Deck Chief Stewardess in town, and it’s not Kate Chastain or Hannah Ferrier. When former Chief Stew Kate Chastain announced she would not be returning to the Bravo series in February this year. Below Deck Mediterranean Chief Stew Hannah Ferrier also announced she was leaving the show, so Below Deck fans will be meeting more new crew members.
Francesca Rubi will fill Chastain’s shoes as the Chief Stew for season 8 of Below Deck, premiering Monday, November 2 on Bravo. Rubi is originally from Sydney, Australia, and has always craved a life full of adventures, according to Bravo.
Rubi began working in event management working for demanding celebrity clients which then helped her transition into the yachting industry catering to demanding charter guests, according to Bravo. Like many other Chief Stews, Rubi learned the ins and outs of yachting and climbed the ranks to become Chief Stew.
The new Chief Stew has admitted that she has a strong sense to detail and likes strong organization. Rubi tries to put herself in her guest’s shoes every charter to try and provide the best experience possible. Rubi has two stewardesses under her: Elizabeth Frankini and Isabelle “Izzy” Wouters. Captain Lee Rosbach and Bosun Eddie Lucas also return to the new season, as well as Chef Rachel Hargrove, Deckhand James Hough, and Deckhand Shane Coopersmith.
Captain Lee Revealed How He Felt About the New Chief Stew
Captain Lee appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on October 5 where he discussed the upcoming Below Deck season. When Cohen asked him how Rubi compares to Chastain, Captain Lee admitted they’re different.
“I’m not even gonna go there,” Captain Lee said on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. “Kate is always gonna have a very, very sweet spot in my heart because we worked together for a long period of time, and she was my right hand. There was nothing that I couldn’t delegate to Kate that I just couldn’t pass it off and walk away from it and know that it was gonna get done. To try and compare the both of them after just one season with Francesca is not being fair to Francesca.”
Captain Lee stands by his comments and added to ET, “We’ve gone through a morph, to say the least. There is a definite learning curve for a lot of people.” Captain Lee told ET on November 2, “It was good to have Eddie back. I was sad to see Kate go, and I didn’t know how the chemistry would work between my new chief stew and myself, or between my new chief stew and everyone else because, you know, when you work with somebody as long as I worked with Kate, you can you get a sense for how she’s going to interact with certain people in certain personalities. And so, you get a feel for how things are going to transpire or not during the course of the season.”
The Below Deck original captain admitted he was, “caught off guard,” when Chastain announced she wasn’t returning, he told ET. “I just never, ever saw it coming,” he said. “I was totally unprepared. I was like, OK… and it was a long conversation. I mean, this went on for, you know, better than an hour or so, and I was just flabbergasted, for lack of a better term, it just hit me hard. And then I started to think about the ramifications of it, you know, because they were huge. … It’s kind of like, OK, she’s gone. So where does all this weight fall now? Am I ready for this?”
Francesca Rubi Confesses She & Kate Chastain Are ‘Different’
Francesca Rubi understands that she is replacing a Chief Stew that Bravo fans have loved for years. “From what I’ve seen Kate do on the show, and how she works, she’s a fantastic chief stew, [but] I don’t think you can compare the two of us,” Rubi told ET on November 2. “I think we both have different work experience backgrounds, on yachts and off yachts.”
She added that she hopes people can resist comparing her to Chastain. “We’re totally different people,” she told ET. “We’ve also grown up in different worlds. You know, she’s from the U.S., I’m from Australia. We operate differently. We’ve grown up differently. I think the thing that we do have in common is working really hard, and earning respect from our peers and captain, and that takes time and she has had a lot of time.”
While Rubi notes that she hit a few rough patches along the road, she said she’d love to appear on the show again. “100 percent I would do another season, because I think Captain Lee and I Towards the end had a great working relationship and that trust and respect was earned,” she told ET. “And also I think I could just nail it even better.”